LEXINGTON, Ky. - From start to finish, Authentic left no doubt he was the horse to beat in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
His dominant performance on another big stage should also end the debate about this year's top 3-year-old, strange as the season has been because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Authentic won the Classic in the same fashion he took the rescheduled Kentucky Derby two months ago, going wire-to-wire for a 2-length victory over Improbable that gave trainer Bob Baffert a 1-2 finish on a warm, sunny fall Saturday at Keeneland.
And perhaps erased Baffert's regret over Authentic's narrow runner-up finish to filly Swiss Skydiver in last month's Preakness.
"He just struggled that day," Baffert said, "but we got him back and I've got a great team and we just tightened the screws on him. … He's just matured."
Authentic broke quickly out of the No. 9 gate between stablemates and set the pace for the 10-horse field to follow. Maximum Security, last year's 3-year-old champion, pursued for a while before Global Security overtook him and then was passed by Improbable in the stretch.
Authentic, at 9-2, never let up with John Velazquez aboard.
"I didn't think it was that much speed in the race, other than the other horse that Bob had on outside," said the Hall of Fame jockey, referring to Maximum Security. "And I thought we were going to be quicker than him anyway."
Authentic covered 1 mile in 1 minute, 59.19 seconds in the $6 million marquee event and paid $10.40, $5.40 and $4.20.