Baffert On Preakness 145: 'Robby Albarado Rode Just A Great Race' - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Baffert On Preakness 145: ‘Robby Albarado Rode Just A Great Race’

Swiss Skydiver and Robby Albarado (right) hold off Authentic and John Velazquez in the Preakness

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert praised Preakness (G1) 145 winner Swiss Skydiver and her jockey Robby Albarado during a visit to the Preakness Stakes Barn at Pimlico in Baltimore, Md., on Sunday morning and said he was still stunned with the outcome of the race.

While Baffert's Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Authentic finished a neck behind Swiss Skydiver in the second-fastest Preakness in history, he did not get the pace-setting, catch-me-if-you-can trip under John Velazquez that he had at Churchill Downs four weeks earlier. Instead, Authentic stalked Baffert's other starter, Thousand Words, early on. It was the reverse of what Baffert expected.

“I thought he would be on the lead,” Baffert said. “This horse is a free-running horse. He wants to be out there and going. The other horse was there but they weren't really going that fast.”

The first quarter was run in 24.48 seconds, which turned out to be the slowest of the race that was completed in 1:53.28.

Swiss Skydiver made what proved to be the decisive move going into the far turn when Albarado guided her around the tiring Thousand Words and to the inside of Authentic. She won the dynamic battle through the stretch.

“I have to give credit. Robby Albarado rode just a great race. The mare ran a great race,” Baffert said. “They went 1:53. It's not like he didn't show up.”

A month earlier at the top of the stretch in the Derby, heavily favored Tiz the Law looked poised to overtake Authentic, but he could not complete the task. Baffert was on the other end of that scenario in the Preakness.

“After all of that, I'm still surprised he just could not get by her,” Baffert said. “She just was game. It was one of those things where I said, 'All right, come on, get by her.' They were running, they were leaving the field. It was, 'Wow, did that really just happen?' But he showed up and he ran. The other horse (Thousand Words) he was sort of spinning. He just wasn't running at all.”

Baffert said both of his colts came out the race in good shape and will be shipped back to California on Monday. He said Authentic will be prepared for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Baffert has two other likely Classic runners, the 4-year-olds Improbable and Maximum Security.

Baffert was bidding for a record eighth Preakness victory. He had completed the double with his five previous Derby winners, but the 2020 Triple Crown schedule was changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, putting four weeks, not two, between the races. Still, Baffert said he was very confident.

“It's the kind of race where I ran second but it was like, 'What happened?'” he said. “I felt really good about him coming into this race, the way he had been working, the way he had been acting. He was fresh. I told Johnny, 'He's really sharp.'”

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