Shirreffs: Exciting, Gratifying To See Honor A.P.’s Santa Anita Performance

There’s a new sheriff in town on the Kentucky Derby trail, and his name is John, as in John Shirreffs, best known as conditioner of the memorable mare Zenyatta and for sending out Giacomo to post a 50-1 upset in the 2005 Kentucky Derby.

Now the former Marine, who turned 75 on June 1, is front and center awaiting the Run for the Roses Sept. 5 after posting an authoritative 2 ¾-length victory with Honor A.P. in Saturday’s Runhappy Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

“He looks good this morning,” Shirreffs said early Sunday. “It’s always a surprise when they run like he ran, because no matter how they look in the mornings or how they’re training, they have to perform in the afternoon.

“It was very gratifying to see him run that well. … It was really exciting. Everybody at the barn is really joyful. He got 100 (Kentucky Derby qualifying) points for the win, so it puts us in a good position.”

While plans leading to the Kentucky Derby are not written in stone, from a timing and competition perspective, the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 1 would seem a logical next option for Honor A.P.

“It’s certainly under consideration,” Shirreffs said of the $100,000 race to be decided at a mile and one-sixteenth.

Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable, LLC, Honor A.P. is somewhat of a racing rarity in that he is not a colt or a gelding, but a ridgling. A ridgling is a male horse of any age that has one testicle or both testicles undescended, or has only one testicle in his scrotum.

Meanwhile Bob Baffert, who seemingly a heartbeat ago had three undefeated Derby contenders so good he “couldn’t say which one was better,” has lost two for the historic mile and a quarter classic.

Nadal has been retired, Charlatan is sidelined with an ankle injury, and Authentic, second to Honor A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby, is now suspect by some of being able to successfully negotiate the testing distance of the Run for the Roses, although on Saturday he broke out at the start from his No. 7 post position and did not enjoy a favorable pace scenario, yet continued gamely behind Honor A.P.

Such is life in the fast lane.

The post Shirreffs: Exciting, Gratifying To See Honor A.P.’s Santa Anita Performance appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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