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'That guy won it for me today.' John Velazquez earns Derby raves from Bob Baffert

By Mark Story, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Horse Racing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In the minutes after Authentic dug deep in the stretch and outdueled heavily favored Tiz the Law to give Bob Baffert yet another Kentucky Derby victory, the trainer offered a clear opinion on what produced the upset.

Baffert looked toward Authentic's jockey, John Velazquez, and said simply, "That guy won it for me today."

Getting a bold ride from his Hall of Fame jockey, Authentic charged to the lead in the first turn and held off a determined charge by Tiz the Law at the top of the stretch to win the 146th Kentucky Derby by 1 1/4 lengths in a time of 2:00.61.

"I've been fortunate to have these great jockeys winning these races for me," Baffert said after claiming his record-tying sixth Kentucky Derby victory. "But (this Derby) was won by Johnny. The way he handled this horse, a speed horse like this and then the way he finished, that's got to be one of (the great all-time rides)."

From the last post position, Velazquez kept Authentic on the outside all the way into the first turn.

The jockey let the naturally speedy Authentic settle into the lead by the first turn.

 

Authentic never gave it up.

Meanwhile, Tiz the Law, already the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes winner, settled into his familiar stalking position just off the lead.

"I kind of let him loose where he was comfortable," Velazquez said of Authentic. "Then, I waited until the horses came right next to him to get after him (with the whip)."

When Tiz the Law appeared to draw all but even with Authentic at the top of the stretch, even Baffert said he expected the favorite to prevail.

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