The person that gave this bay son of Into Mischief his name could not have possibly known just how much this Thoroughbred would live up to it as he traveled from track to track throughout the 2020 season.
But the story actually began in 2019, as Authentic made his only start as a juvenile during Del Mar's Bing Crosby Season, dispatching a maiden special weight field while sprinting five and a half furlongs over the main course. He would not be seen again until early in the Santa Anita winter/spring meet, but he spent little time in announcing his arrival.
Trainer Bob Baffert sent his charge from the maiden special weight ranks to Grade III company, entering him in the Sham Stakes. The traditional opening prep race for the Santa Anita Derby, Authentic was ready. Looking more strapping than he did at Del Mar, the colt reunited with jockey Drayden Van Dyke to dominate the opposition, romping home despite racing green in the stretch to make himself one of Southern California's Kentucky Derby prospects.
For the rest of the Santa Anita session, it was common to see the bay with the white blaze across his face up front. He took control early in a highly anticipated Grade II San Felipe Stakes, which featured a showdown with reigning two-year-old champion Storm the Court, stablemate and Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Thousand Words, and future stakes winner Honor A.P. None of them had an answer for Authentic, who won the mile and one-sixteenth contest handily. The three-race winning streak ended in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby after Honor A.P. avenged the San Felipe defeat, but Authentic was not disgraced in second.
Normally, the Santa Anita Derby would function as the last Kentucky Derby prep race for several horses before the first Saturday in May, but the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the Run for the Roses being moved to Labor Day weekend. That gave Authentic another prep (and a new jockey in Mike Smith) in the Grade I Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park in the middle of July. He furthered Baffert's dominance in the New Jersey staple, holding off a determined NY Traffic to get the trophy after nine furlongs. That was also a winning debut for Authentic's new owners. There had been several parties who owned a part of him at one time, including John Fielding, Frederick Hertrich, III, and Golconda Stables. By the time of the Haskell, the ownership now stood as Spendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC and Starlight Racing. They would be there the rest of the way.
The Haskell was a prestigious win, but it also showed Authentic could ship out of state and win. And it would not be the last time he did that.
Seven weeks after the Haskell, Authentic was in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby with Hall of Fame rider John Velasquez set to pilot him. Despite coming off a layoff, there was no rust of any sort, for Authentic went to the lead early after starting from the extreme outside post. None of his fourteen rivals had anything for him that day, and Authentic showed grit in his victory. He had a relaxing stride to him in previous races, but he dug deep in the stretch to thwart the bid of the heavily favored Tiz the Law, who captured the Belmont Stakes earlier in the year. With that display of toughness, Authentic became Baffert's sixth Kentucky Derby champion.
Next came the Preakness about a month later. With Velasquez aboard, Authentic was in contention throughout the race. He again threw it down in the stretch, this time taking on the talented filly Swiss Skydiver. Authentic never gave up in the stretch, but Swiss Skydiver was just a little bit better on the day as she became the sixth filly to win the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
It may have been a defeat, but Authentic still sported a glittering record of five wins and two runner-up finishes in seven starts as the connections moved to Keeneland Race Course for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Facing another large field like he did in the Kentucky Derby, Authentic would also match up against Honor A.P., NY Traffic, Storm the Court and Tiz the Law. But again, they could not dethrone the multiple Grade I winner. In late afternoon at Keeneland, Authentic and Velasquez wasted no time in seizing the lead. They never relinquished it, and Authentic put together the perfect ending to his career by capturing the Classic for his eighth career win.
Authentic won over five different distances and went to the winner's circle at the same amount of tracks. He won five graded stakes, and placed in every single graded event he started. Those latter accomplishments were impressive individually speaking, but they also added up to make Authentic the big winner at the 50th Annual Eclipse Awards. The only horse to win two trophies, he earned both top Three-Year-Old Male and Horse of the Year honors to cap off a successful career and be one of the top horses produced by his sire, Into Mischief.
A talented racehorse from start to finish, no other name could have fit him except for Authentic.