OwnerSpendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse.com, Madaket Stables LLC, Starlight Racing Stable
Jockey (from last start)John Velazquez
BreederPeter E. Blum Thoroughbreds LLC
Following a hard-fought victory in the 1 1/8-mile TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park in July, some critics believed that that 1 1 /4 miles would be a distance too far for Authentic. But Authentic would prove them wrong, winning both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) en route to the 2020 Horse of the Year title.
Owned by Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse.com, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing, the 3-year-old Authentic entered the 1 ¼-mile Classic at Keeneland as the co-4-1 second choice for trainer Bob Baffert in a 10-horse field representing of the best dirt horses of the year.
After finishing second by a neck to the filly Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness Stakes on Oct. 3, jockey John Velazquez employed the same front-running strategy in the Classic that was used when winning the Kentucky Derby, which was postponed from May until September due the Coronavirus pandemic.
As the gates opened in the Classic, Authentic and Velazquez shot to the front and led the field of 10 unopposed on the front end. On the far turn, Global Campaign made the first run at Authentic with Improbable, Authentic’s stablemate, looping up three wide.
In the stretch, Authentic expanded his lead and was well clear at the eighth pole and not threatened by Improbable who overtook Global Campaign by a length for second.
Authentic, who crossed the wire 2 ¼ lengths in front, was clocked in 1:59.19 for the 1 ¼ miles, breaking the track record of 2:00.07 established by American Pharoah in his Classic victory, also at Keeneland. A bay son of Into Mischief out of Flawless by Mr. Greeley, Authentic was bred in Kentucky by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds.
For Baffert, it is his fourth Classic victory with all those wins coming with 3-year-olds: Bayern (2014), American Pharoah (2015) and Arrogate (2016). For Velazquez, it is his 18th Breeders’ Cup victory and first in the Classic.
“I think Johnny (Velazquez) got to know him a lot better and he’s just a quirky guy,” said Baffert of Authentic. 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. I’m just happy for Wayne Hughes and everybody. That was awesome.”
Velazquez was also joyous in victory. “It’s incredible. 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.” The victory made Authentic a three-time Grade 1 winner, and the first-place prize of $3,300,000 boosted his career earnings to $6,371,200 with a career record of 8-6-2-0.
Authentic, who was retired to stud at Spendthrift Farm in the days following the race, won Eclipse Awards as the Champion Three-Year-Old and Horse of the Year of 2020.