Bet Now

Breeders’ Cup Classic: Authentic the Real Deal of a Champion

By Richard Rosenblatt

Make no mistake, this race was never in doubt once Authentic took the lead in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Unlike the grinding finish to the U.S. presidential race, it took Authentic under two minutes to go wire-to-wire and win the BC Classic (G1) at Keeneland on Saturday to stake a claim as Horse of the Year.

With Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard, Authentic (4-1) shot into the lead at the get-go and just kept running, and running, covering the 1 ¼ miles in a track record 1:59.19. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah held the previous record of 2:00.07.

Bob Baffert – Photo courtesy of Laura Green / Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia

“We really were disappointed after the Preakness. He’s a quirky horse, but he’s been training unbelievable,’’ Baffert, the leading-money earning trainer in Breeders’ Cup history, said. “He’s getting better, and he’s caught up to the older horses.

“I would have loved to finish 1-2-3, but I’m proud of all my horses. After what I’ve been through this year, I’m just grateful.”

So is Velazquez, who was also aboard Gamine, said winning his first Classic comes at a good time.

“I’ve been chasing this race for a long time,’’ Velazquez, who was 0-for-19 in the Classic. “What a feeling! With COVID, it’s been a tough year, no matter what. This makes up for everything.”

The winner’s share of $3,300,000 boosted Authentic’s earnings to $6,371,200. His career record: 8-6-2-0.

Irad Ortiz, Jr., who was aboard Improbable, said “I had a good trip, a perfect trip. I had him in the clear. He just got beat. It was a great race.”

Manny Franco, aboard Tiz the Law, said “I had an OK trip. I was down inside. My horse never settled for me. He was pulling me the whole way hard. When I sent to looking for him he was done.”

Winners of other Breeders’ Cup races Saturday were: Gamine (Filly & Mare Sprint, $4.20), Glass Slippers (Turf Sprint, $22.40); Knicks Go (Dirt Mile, $5.60); Audarya (Filly & Mare Turf, $37.60); Whitmore (Sprint, $38.80); Order Australia (Mile, $148.40); Monomoy Girl (Distaff, $4) and Tarnawa (Turf, $11.40).

Proudly featured on: