Derby champ Authentic wins 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic

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Bob Baffert’s 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic led stablemate Improbable over the wire in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at a spectatorless Keeneland.

Authentic jumped to the early lead and never looked back, securing jockey John Velazquez his first career Classic win in his 20th try. The colt is owned by Spendthrift Farm, MyRacehorse Stable, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing.

He paid $10.40 to win, $5.40 to place and $4.20 to show.

Early favorite Improbable, also trained by Baffert, charged down the stretch but settled for second with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard. Global Campaign, trained by Stanley Hough and ridden by Javier Castellano, was third.

Baffert’s third horse, the infamous Maximum Security, finished fifth, one spot in front of 2020 Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law. See the full order of finish below.

Related: Winners, highlights from every 2020 Breeders’ Cup race

Authentic, the son of Into Mischief, was bred by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, LLC. In June, he was second in the Santa Anita Derby before winning the Pacific Classic in July and the rescheduled September Kentucky Derby. A month later, he lost a fierce stretch battle against filly Swiss Skydiver in the Preakness Stakes.

This was Baffert’s fourth career Classic win, which sets a new record. He previously won with Bayern in 2014, American Pharoah in 2015 and Arrogate in 2016.

Earlier in the day, Baffert’s filly Gamine easily took the Filly and Mare Sprint, setting a track record on the way. Baffert has been under fire after a string of positive drug tests coming out of his barn, including Gamine.

2018 Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Monomoy Girl put up a dazzling win in this year’s $2 million Distaff after a racing layoff that lasted from November 2018 to May 2020. This year’s Preakness Stakes winner Swiss Skydiver was lined up to be her biggest competition, but the filly stumbled out of the gate and couldn’t make up the ground.

Tarnawa (IRE) captured the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf for trainer Dermot Weld and substitute jockey Colin Keane. She was one of four females in the race and continues Europe’s dominance in the event.

European great Aidan O’Brien found his very first career win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile as his 73-1 longshot Order of Australia (IRE) orchestrated the upset of the day. And if that wasn’t enough, O’Brien horses picked up second (Circus Maximus) and third (Lope Y Fernandez) as well. To cap things off for the European contingent, Glass Slippers (GB) became the first European runner to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

It took him four tries, but 7-year-old Whitmore finally reached victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He finished third last year and second in the 2018 edition. This was the first Breeders’ Cup win for his trainer, Ron Moquett.

On Friday, horse racing’s rising stars were out in full force. Brad Cox’s Essential Quality picked off heavy favorite Jackie’s Warrior in the $2 million Juvenile, putting him on the map for the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Hot Rod Charlie, a 94-1 longshot, took second.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Breeders’ Cup ran without fans in the stands. Del Mar hosts the event in 2021, and Keeneland will host again in 2022.

Breeders’ Cup Classic order of finish:

  1. Authentic
  2. Improbable
  3. Global Campaign
  4. Tacitus
  5. Maximum Security
  6. Tiz the Law
  7. Title Ready
  8. By My Standards
  9. Tom’s d’Etat
  10. Higher Power

Irad Ortiz sets single-season record with 77th stakes win

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NEW YORK – Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earned his record 77th single-season North American stakes victory when he guided Dr B to victory in the $200,000 Go for Wand at Aqueduct.

The 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico broke the old mark of 76 set by the late Hall of Fame rider Garrett Gomez in 2007.

“This is great. Amazing feeling,” said Ortiz, Jr., who won the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey from 2018-20. “Gomez did it in 2007 and he was a great rider, one of the best in the game. I’m so happy just to be a part of this. I love this sport.”

Ortiz Jr. won the Belmont Stakes with Mo Donegal in June to go with Breeders’ Cup victories in the Juvenile, Filly & Mare Sprint and Sprint. He also earned nine other Grade 1 wins in New York, including Life Is Good in the Woodward and Whitney and Nest in the Alabama and Coaching Club Oaks. He won riding titles at Belmont’s spring-summer meet and Saratoga’s summer meet.

Ortiz Jr. leads North American riders with 304 overall victories this year. His purse earnings totaled over $35.8 million going into Saturday’s races, which already surpassed his single-season record of $34.1 million in 2019.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”