Looks like a Bolt D’Oro-McKinzie rematch in the Santa Anita Derby

The rematch everyone wanted looks like it will happen in the Santa Anita Derby. Trainer Bob Baffert has decided to keep McKinzie at home for a rematch with Bolt D’Oro on April 7. It also means that Justify, his promising but lightly raced colt, will be headed to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby on April 14.

“It could change but that’s the plan right now,” Baffert said in a text to The Times.

This comes days after a rousing stretch duel between McKinzie and Bolt D’Oro in the San Felipe Stakes. McKinzie crossed the finish line first, but stewards ruled that he impeded the path of Bolt D’Oro and was moved to second. The margin was a head.

Some think that Baffert’s best horse is Justify, who has breezed to easy victories in his first two races, the last coming on Sunday in an allowance. But he has yet to run in a stakes race and has no Kentucky Derby qualifying points.


By running in Arkansas, Justify can qualify for the Derby with a first- or second-place finish. If he were to stay at Santa Anita and McKinzie were shipped to Arkansas, Justify would be facing Bolt D’Oro, a horse that is likely better than any in the Arkansas Derby.

In 2015, when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, Baffert had a similar situation with two great horses. He kept Dortmund in Arcadia, where he won the Santa Anita Derby, and shipped American Pharoah to Arkansas, where he won. American Pharoah won all his remaining races, while Dortmund finished third in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Preakness.