Authentic (Into Mischief) provided Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert with a fourth victory-all with 3-year-olds–in the $6-million GI Breeders' Cup Classic, leading throughout en route to a 2 1/4-length defeat of stablemate Improbable (City Zip) as the sun set in Saturday's main event at Keeneland.
Ridden for speed by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, the GI Kentucky Derby hero and narrow GI Preakness S. runner-up led the Classic field under the wire for the first time, doing so with a minimum of fuss, and with stablemates Improbable and Maximum Security (New Year's Day) deferring, was able to get the opening half-mile in :47.06, according to Trakus.
They began to edge closer to the front-runner as they raced into the final half-mile, but Authentic remained strong up front while Improbable tried to make a race of it wide on the turn. Holding firm into the final three-sixteenths of a mile, Authentic kicked on gamely and was home safely ahead of Improbable, who covered a whopping 67 more feet than the winner, according to Trakus.
The final time of 1:59.19 established a new track record for 1 1/4 miles, besting's American Pharoah's final clocking of 2:00.07 in his Classic victory five years earlier.
Authentic joins fellow Kentucky Derby winners Ferdinand, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Unbridled, and the Baffert-trained American Pharoah to defeat their elders in the Classic. Baffert also won the Classic with fellow sophomores Bayern (2014) and Arrogate (2016).
“You know what, they were all training so well and he was training well,” Baffert said. “I think Johnny [Velazquez] 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.”
A debut winner sprinting at Del Mar two days shy of a year ago, Authentic aired by 7 3/4 lengths in Santa Anita's one-mile GIII Sham S. in early January. He was a powerful winner in the GII San Felipe S. Mar. 7, then suffered his first career defeat, finishing second to Honor A.P. (Honor Code) in the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby.
Saved by the wire in the GI TVG.com Haskell S. July 18, Authentic showed no signs of slowing down, turning back Belmont winner Tiz the Law at 8-1 in the postponed Derby. He lost little in defeat coming up a neck short of the brilliant filly Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) in the GI Preakness S. last time Oct. 3.
“There were two races where he came back where he was really blowing hard,” Baffert said. “It was the Santa Anita Derby and the Preakness. So that means he probably, maybe I didn't have him as sharp as I love and he just struggled that day. But we got him back and I've got a great team and we just tightened the screws on him. He's maturing right now and this is, I won it with 3-year-olds, and because this is when, the time of the year they catch up. It was a tough field, but I just told Johnny, I said, 'This is the horse that you rode in the Derby. You can ride him with confidence.'
Campaigned by a powerful partnership, Authentic carried the orange-and-purple silks of B. Wayne Hughes's Spendthrift Farm LLC to victory in the Classic. MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC and Starlight Racing are also co-owners. Spendthrift also campaigned three-time Breeders' Cup champion Beholder and Mile upsetter Court Vision.
“I'm just happy for Wayne Hughes and everybody,” Baffert said. “That was awesome.”
“Oh, man, it's such, it's in such an unbelievably surreal year,” Spendthrift's Eric Gustavson said. “To say that the horse has brought us a lot of light and excitement and distraction is an understatement. To have the off date Kentucky Derby and then the back to normal Breeders' Cup and to be able to win those both in one year and with a 3-year-old, man, it's too much.”
B. Wayne Hughes's Spendthrift had purchased a majority interest in Authentic just days before the Santa Anita Derby from SF Racing, Fred Hertrich, John Fielding and Golconda Stables, and the colt's number of owners grew exponentially when the Spendthrift-backed micro-share syndicate MyRacehorse bought in shortly after Authentic's first defeat.
“Yeah, well, I mean, this has been quite the ride,” MyRacehorse's Michael Behrens said. “It's an amazing ride. I could never have imagined that it would end like this. I mean, this is the pinnacle of racing. And when we set out to do this a couple years ago the idea was to celebrate this sport with
as many people as possible, and to have 5,314 people to have an ownership stake in Authentic, I couldn't have asked for anything better. And the partnership with Spendthrift and Eric and Mr. Hughes, it's been tremendous having this opportunity.
“Wayne has given so much to the game over the years. He's been in racing for 50 years and he bought Spendthrift in 2004 and made it into a business, and now to, with a lot of help from Johnny V. and Bob who are in the room here, to realize this dream, that sometimes it feels like you can only dream. It's really not quite attainable, which is what makes it like so sweet, it's unbelievable. But for Wayne, it's everything,
for us, for the team at Spendthrift, that's the best part, that Wayne has reached the top of the mountain here and we get to celebrate with him.”
As if Into Mischief wasn't already having a year for the record books, Authentic put the cherry on top with a GI Breeders' Cup Classic win to go along with his GI Kentucky Derby win. Currently the leading sire in North America, Into Mischief also bookended Breeders' Cup Saturday, opening the World Championships with Gamine's win in the GI Filly & Mare Sprint and closing with Authentic's Classic. The Spendthrift sire has 27 black-type winners of 2020 to go along with his 81 stakes winners–33 graded–in nine crops to race.
Authentic's dam, the Mr. Greeley mare Flawless, won once in her only two starts and was named a 'TDN Rising Star' off that performance. She has had six foals, with all three to race winners, while her 2-year-old colt, Mint (Bodemeister), is as of yet unraced. Flawless's yearling colt is named Push Button (Bodemeister) and she has been bred back to Into Mischief for next term after not producing a foal in 2020.
Authentic's broodmare sire, Mr. Greeley, died at age 18 in 2010, but continues to make an impact through his daughters. They have produced 79 black-type winners to date, including another Breeders' Cup winner, Ria Antonia (Rockport Harbor), who captured the GI Juvenile Fillies in 2013.
Interestingly, Authentic's only inbreeding through five generations is to Icecapade through his sons Clever Trick on Into Mischief's dam side and Wild Again on Flawless's side, as he is the broodmare sire of her dam, Oyster Baby. A multiple graded stakes winner in his own right, Icecapade is probably best known for being the first foal out of 1975 Broodmare of the Year Shenanigans (Native Dancer), making him a half-brother to the incomparable Ruffian (Reviewer).
Quotes from the Also Rans:
“He just kind of let the other horse get away and nobody went with him. I don't know what the pace was because they messed up the fractions. But they kind of walked the dog out there. But he ran his race. He was wide both turns but he was second best.” –Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm on Improbable
“This horse has been through a lot in his career. We got his foot problems behind him and today was the first time he was really able to show his potential. We are so proud of him and he ran a great race.” —Global Campaign's trainer Stanley Hough
“It was a good trip. He was right there. We came to the stretch and the winner was rolling. It was very impressive. But, he tried. He ran a good race.” –Maximum Security's jockey Luis Saez
“I was happy with the way he came into the race. I thought he would run his race but [jockey Manny Franco] said he was just too keen and didn't run.” –Tiz the Law's trainer Barclay Tagg
LONGINES BREEDERS' CUP CLASSIC-GI, $5,520,000, Keeneland, 11-7, 3yo/up, 1 1/4m, 1:59.19, ft.
1–AUTHENTIC, 122, c, 3, by Into Mischief
1st Dam: Flawless, by Mr. Greeley
2nd Dam: Oyster Baby, by Wild Again
3rd Dam: Really Fancy, by In Reality
($350,000 Ylg '18 KEESEP). O-Spendthrift Farm LLC,
MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC & Starlight Racing;
B-Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-John
Velazquez. $3,120,000. Lifetime Record: 8-6-2-0,
$6,191,200. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Improbable, 126, c, 4, City Zip–Rare Event, by A.P. Indy.
'TDN Rising Star' ($110,000 Wlg '16 KEENOV; $200,000 Ylg '17
KEESEP). O-WinStar Farm LLC, CHC Inc. & SF Racing LLC; B-St.
George Farm LLC & G. Watts Humphrey Jr. (KY); T-Bob Baffert.
3–Global Campaign, 126, c, 4, Curlin–Globe Trot, by A.P. Indy.
'TDN Rising Star' ($250,000 Ylg '17 KEESEP). O-Sagamore
Farm, LLC & WinStar Farm, LLC; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY);
T-Stanley M. Hough. $540,000.
Margins: 2 1/4, 1, 2. Odds: 4.20, 3.70, 25.20.
Also Ran: Tacitus, Maximum Security, Tiz the Law, Title Ready, By My Standards, Tom's d'Etat, Higher Power. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.