LEXINGTON, Ky. — Authentic has won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, going wire-to-wire for a 2¼-length victory over Improbable that gave trainer Bob Baffert a 1-2 finish Saturday at Keeneland.
The Kentucky Derby champion and Preakness runner-up broke out of the gate quickly and set the pace for others to follow. Stablemate Maximum Security pursued for a while before Global Security overtook him and then was passed by Improbable entering the stretch. Authentic, at 9-2, never let up with John Velazquez aboard and extended his lead by the end.
Authentic earned his fifth win in seven starts this year and made a strong case as the year’s top 3-year-old. It also bookended a successful day for Baffert, whose filly Gamine opened the $31 million season-ending world championships with a dominant, record-setting victory in the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint.
Authentic’s winning time in the $6 million race over 1¼ miles wasn’t immediately available because of a technical glitch.
Authentic paid $10.40, $5.40 and $4.20. Improbable returned $4.80 and $3.30 while Global Campaign paid $8.80.
Just before that, even-money favorite Monomoy Girl blew by the leaders around the final turn and held off a challenge by 14-1 shot Valiance to win the 1 1/8-mile Distaff for the top fillies and mares 3 years old and up.
The star 5-year-old won for the 13th time in 15th races, giving trainer Brad Cox his fourth win at this Breeders’ Cup to tie the record.
“I thought she was better than she’d ever been coming into this, I really, really did, and I think she proved that,” Cox said. “Just a tremendous filly. She’s a champion.”
Monomoy Girl won in 1:47.84, paying $4.00 to win, $3.00 to place and $2.40 to show. Valiance was second and Dunbar Road third.
Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver didn’t finish in the top three after stumbling out of the starting gate. Trainer Kenny McPeek chose to run Swiss Skydiver against older fillies and mares in the Distaff rather than going against the colts in the Classic and knew this was still a possibility.
“She’s got a ladder to climb against older fillies and mares,” McPeek said. “Monomoy Girl’s a great filly. She deserves Hall of Fame status.”
This is likely Monomoy Girl’s last race before she becomes a broodmare.
British-bred filly Glass Slippers earned a half-length victory over Wet Your Whistle in the 5½-furlong Turf Sprint. The 4-year-old filly’s time of 1:01.53 was just off the track record of 1:00.86 by Leinster in July.
Baffert-trained filly Gamine opened the nine-race slate of stakes races with a dominant, record-setting trip in the Filly and Mare Sprint. Gamine beat retiring great Serengeti Empress by 6¼ lengths and clocked a track-record 1:20.20 over seven furlongs to top Taris’ old mark of 1:21.32 on Oct. 18, 2014.
Her fourth victory this year comes after a tumultuous year in which she tested positive for lidocaine in May and for betamethasone, a regulated corticosteroid, in September. Baffert is appealing a suspension in the first case, while results are pending from a split-sample test in the second. But the Hall of Fame trainer gushed over his filly.
“She showed what a wonderful filly she is, and there was no doubt today,” Baffert said. “That was a tough field. Serengeti Empress, we know she’s a great filly, and there were some really nice fillies in there. And to break a track record.”
Knicks Go also broke a track record, winning the Dirt Mile by 3 1/2 lengths over Jesus’ Team and running 1:33.85.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.