When he races, Authentic doesn’t show a lot of patience on the track. He’s developed a well-earned reputation as the proverbial front-runner, a horse who likes the lead and a horse who relishes a challenge.

Authentic-Preakness Feat
Who says horses don’t play to the camera? Authentic’s playful side came out earlier this year outside his barn. Just don’t expect the 9/5 favorite to play around at Pimlico during Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. (Image: MyRacehorse.com)

This, however, contrasts with the connections and background of the Kentucky Derby champion and 9/5 Preakness Stakes favorite. For SF Bloodstock and Starlight Racing exhibited amazing patience when they bought Authentic as a yearling for $350,000 at the Keeneland 2018 September Sale.

The pair joined forces for that sale, spending more than $9.3 million on 19 colts. After buying their 18th, Ragtime Blues, the new partnership waited three days before Authentic entered the sales ring. He was the 2,616th to do so.

Even carrying that price tag, to say Authentic was a diamond in the rough was an understatement. He didn’t hit the ring until Book 3. That means he wasn’t considered one of the A-list prospects by the Keeneland sales staff. Those, you find in Book 1.

Doing Your Homework, Biding Your Time Breeds Success

That patience became a virtue for SF Bloodstock and Starlight Racing. Their bloodstock agents told them that that Authentic’s pedigree, body confirmation and athleticism – yes, you can tell these things in yearlings – combined for a star-making package.

Named by his breeder, longtime horseman Peter Blum, Authentic came from standout sire Into Mischief, who had a modestly successful racing career. Into Mischief won three races and finished second three times in six career starts. But as a stallion, Into Mischief wildly exceeded his on-track career.

He ranked third on the 2012 first-crop sire list. That year, his younger half-sister Beholder won the first of her four Eclipse Awards. Five years later, another half-sibling – Mendlessohn – wont eh Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf. Those feats boosted Into Mischief’s pedigree accordingly.

Into Mischief Making Merriment in the Breeding Shed

Further progeny took that beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. Into Mischief ranked fourth on the general sire list in 2018. The following year, he led all sires in progeny earnings with more than $18.9 million. This year, with Authentic winning four of five starts – including the Derby and Grade 1 Haskell – Into Mischief once again tops the general sire list.

Led by Authentic’s $2.84 million in 2020 earnings, his progeny racked up more than $12.3 million in earnings through Sept. 14.

By now, SF Bloodstock and Starlight have partners. Madaket Stables bought a piece. So did powerhouse breeding farm Spendthrift Farm, owned by billionaire entrepreneur B. Wayne Hughes, which bought a controlling share in Authentic. Hughes sold 12.5% to MyRacehorse.com, a new company that buys shares in horses and sells micro shares to the public.

In Authentic’s case, MyRacehorse sold 12,500 shares at $206 a share. That gave 5,314 people – including skier Bode Miller, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler and several NASCAR drivers — bragging rights that they own a piece of a Kentucky Derby winner.

You Get Authentic Talent — With a Side of Mischief

They also own a piece of a horse with, shall we say, a personality. Authentic’s antics are as big a part of his personality as his obvious talent. He nearly sent jockey Drayden Van Dyke into the Santa Anita Park rail during a 7 ¾-length romp in the Sham Stakes last winter.

Then, at the Haskell at Monmouth Park in July, Authentic apparently got bored with his 3 ½-length lead in deep stretch and decided to let a surging Ny Traffic back into the race. Jockey Mike Smith got him focused just in time to hit the wire a nose ahead.

“The interesting thing is that people that were at the race commented how when New York Traffic got to him at the finish line, it was actually after the finish line that Authentic kind of rebroke,” Spendthrift Farm General Manager Ned Toffey said on a National Thoroughbred Racing Association conference call this week. “And so, you know, he got competitive and never really let the horse past it.”

Authentic’s Competitive Nature Produced a Derby Champion

That competitiveness is what makes Authentic the real prodigy he is. Only one horse beat him across a finish line in six races – the now-retired Honor A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby. Anyone watching the Kentucky Derby couldn’t help but notice Authentic’s stubborn drive holding off favored Tiz the Law.

“He goes straight off. We don’t back him up. We have to fool him. He’s a little quirky,” trainer Bob Baffert told the Maryland Jockey Club.

Like Authentic’s impatience on the track and his owner’s patience at the auction ring, some quirks work out rather well.