Media outlets all over the country are have been buzzing since Sunday, following what many describe as a world-class performance by the best horse of the year.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships just wrapped up this past weekend and throughout the event, fans got to watch sublime thoroughbred horse-racing. The three-year-old colt, Authentic, put in what was perhaps the most outstanding performance, notching a comfortable win on Saturday at the $6m Classic.
Building Up to the Event
Horse-racing is as competitive a sport as any other, with bragging rights following every win. Ahead of the Breeders' Cup, the other high-profile races that took place over the year made it clear which horses stood a serious chance at winning the Breeders' Cup Classic.
The Breeders' Cup is the curtain-closing event in America's thoroughbred horse-racing calendar and its headliner - the Breeders' Cup Classic - is arguably the most high-profile race of the year. Colts, fillies, and mares from all over the country (and the world) compete for the big $6m race purse.
As such, the Classic is considered a defining contest that settles disputes over which horse has the best racing form in the calendar year. This year, the pool was large and the stakes were high. A crop of fantastic horses was in contention including Improbable, Maximum Security, Swiss Skydiver, Tiz the Law, and Authentic.
When the Starting Gates Opened
The one thing, perhaps, that stood out from this race was the stamina with which Authentic managed to capture and maintain the lead from the get-go.
With John Velasquez aboard, the spritely Authentic came into the race at Keeneland with 4-1 morning line odds and took the 1 1/4 mile race in a track record time of 1:59:19. He beat, by less than a second, the previous record was held by the legendary American Pharaoh with a time of 2:00:07.
Improbable, a magnificent horse in his own right, came a strong second. Coming off a win at the Woodward (G1), Global Campaign finished third. Maximum Security finished fifth and Tiz the Law - who was the bookies' favorite with 3-1 odds - came in sixth.
Running up the Score
In quantifying the greatness of any athletic feat, a singular outstanding performance isn't enough. Authentic has managed to back up his de-facto claim for horse of the year with great performances at different events.
He won the Kentucky Derby (G1) event and backed it up with a second-place finish in the Preakness Stakes (G1). Inclusive of the two races, he managed a record of five wins from seven starts going into Saturday's headliner.
Speaking on the win, Authentic's Trainer Bod Baffert said:
“We really were disappointed after the Preakness. He’s a quirky horse, but he’s been training unbelievable. He (Authentic) is getting better, and he’s caught up to the older horses."
This win further extends Baffert's lead as the top earner in Breeders' Cup History (with a total of $30m so far) and has, no doubt, put an extra pep in his step ahead of next year's high profile G1 races.