(Reuters) - Authentic held off a late challenge by favorite Tiz the Law to win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs and give the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a sixth win in the annual Run for the Roses.
Authentic, ridden by John Velazquez, set the early pace and managed to maintain his speed down the stretch in the 1-1/4 mile classic, which was held without spectators due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law was well positioned to overtake Authentic as the horses made the final turn but couldn't close the gap and had to settle for second.
Longshot Mr. Big News was third and Honor A.P. was fourth in the 15-horse race.
"It's definitely not getting old," Hall of Fame jockey Velazquez said after clinching his third Kentucky Derby victory.
"The feeling that you get, I could cry. It's incredible."
The Kentucky Derby was postponed from its traditional first Saturday in May due to the pandemic.
The Belmont Stakes was held on June 20 and the Preakness Stakes, usually the second in the Triple Crown races, will be held in a month's time. The Breeders' Cup will follow on Nov. 6 and 7.
Black Lives Matter protesters rallied near Churchill Downs on Saturday, many carrying signs honoring Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was killed by police after they burst into her Louisville home in March.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)