Thousand Words Re-Enters Kentucky Derby Picture, Beating Honor A.P. In Shared Belief

Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm‘s Thousand Words made every pole a winner Saturday in upsetting the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes by three-quarters of a length at Del Mar near San Diego, Calif. In the process, he may have bought himself a ticket to the 2020 Kentucky Derby, to be run on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.

The Pioneerof the Nile colt, ridden by Abel Cedillo and trained by Bob Baffert, took the lead right out of the gate and held off all challenges, including one from the 1-5 favorite Honor A.P. under Mike Smith. The latter was bumped from the outside coming out of the starting gate by Cezanne, a Baffert-trained stablemate of the winner who veered inwardly at the break under Flavien Prat.

The 1 1/16-mile feature went with only four runners when two of its 3-year-olds — Uncle Chuck and Anneau d’Or — were scratched Saturday morning.

“He (trainer Bob Baffert) just told me to warm him up real well, then get him out of there,” said Cedillo. “Then see what happens. He broke well and I saw I could take the lead, so I did. He was going along there steady, steady, steady. Then we got it done.”

“I told Abel (Cedillo) to jump him out of there and I thought he and Cezanne would be 1-2,” said Baffert. “Turning for home I could tell that Honor A.P. wasn’t running like he usually does. Cezanne got really tired, but Thousand Words … I could tell when we got down here that he was a different horse from Los Alamitos and the real Thousand Words showed up today. His whole mind changed. His color has changed. He had soured out on me, but we got him going the right way. I think he earned his way to the Derby.”

With the victory, Thousand Words earned 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, and now ranks seventh on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard among potential runners, with 83 points.

Updated Kentucky Derby points leaderboard

Thousand Words covered the distance in 1:43.85 after setting fractions of :23.89, :47.93, 1:12.33 and 1:37.44. He returned $20.40 and $3.40. Honor A.P. returned $2.10 to place. There was no show betting.

John Sondereker’s Kiss Today Goodbye finished third and Coolmore partners’ Cezanne was fourth and last.

Thousand Words earned $60,000 for his tally and pushed his bankroll to $327,000, after winning his fourth race in his seventh start. Produced from the Pomeroy mare, Pomeroys Pistol, he was bred in Florida by Hardacre Farm and sold for $1 million by Brookdale Sales at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

The stakes win is the third of the meet for rider Cedillo, but his first in the Shared Belief. He now has five stakes wins at Del Mar.

As for Honor A.P., Mike Smith said: “He ran well, but we’re disappointed he didn’t win. I haven’t been able to get on him in the mornings and I think that’s made a difference. He’s just been going along there not doing much in the mornings. I need to be on him and get more out of him. But that’s the way it is now; that’s just the way it is. This distance (mile and one-sixteenth) is too short for him, too. Just not his day.”

 

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