Authentic was never seriously challenged posting a resounding wire-to-wire victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland, likely securing the Eclipse Awards for Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male in the process.
He sped the 1 1/4-mile distance in a hand-timed 1:59.19, a new track record.
Off as the 4-1 co-third choice, the bay colt provided Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert with his fourth Classic win. All have been 3-year-olds, as Authentic joined the ranks of Bayern, American Pharoah, and Arrogate (2014-16). American Pharoah led wire-to-wire in the first Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland.
Making his first start against older horses, Authentic sprinted to the fore at the start with John Velazquez, reaching the quarter-pole with a short lead, and he opened up by a couple of lengths along the backstretch and far turn.
Improbable and Global Campaign edged closer entering the stretch, but Authentic had more in reserve and spurted away to a commanding advantage. He cruised home to a 2 1/4-length decision.
“It’s incredible,” Velazquez said. “Thank God and the whole team. The older I get the more emotional I get. It worked out perfect. Bob said to take him to the lead so he doesn’t wander so much and keep his mind on running. It worked out. He did everything I wanted him to do.”
Velazquez notched his first Classic triumph, increasing his Breeders’ Cup race win total to 18.
Campaigned by Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse.com, Madaket Stables, and Starlight Racing. Authentic recorded his fifth stakes tally. Along with major wins in the Kentucky Derby and Haskell (G1), he took the San Felipe (G2) and Sham (G3) earlier in the season. The bay sophomore also finished second in the Preakness (G1) and Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Authentic has now earned $6,371,200 from an 8-6-2-0 record.
Improbable, who entered with a three-race, Grade 1-winning streak, tried valiantly to catch Authentic but wound up second-best as the 37-10 second choice, giving Baffert the exacta. Global Campaign was another length back in third at 25-1, and he was followed by Tacitus and Maximum Security, who was also trained by Baffert.
Tiz the Law, the 3-1 favorite, came next in sixth, and Title Ready, By My Standards, Tom’s d’Etat, and Higher Power completed the order.
“You know what, they were all training so well and (Authentic) was training well,” Baffert said. “I think Johnny (who was up for the third time on Authentic) got to know him a lot better and he’s just a quirky guy. But when I saw him out there, he’s catching up with these older horses. That’s what they do at this time of year, what a horse. He’s the real deal.”
Authentic is by 2019 leading stallion Into Mischief, who also sired Gamine to a record-setting win in the Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) earlier on Saturday’s program for Baffert.
Bred in Kentucky by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, Authentic was purchased for $350,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He’s out of the Mr. Greeley mare Flawless.