Baffert’s Charlatan is Authentic

Baffert’s Charlatan is Authentic

Winning awards is nothing new to Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert, and once again he has an embarrassment of riches in his Kentucky Derby-winning horse, Authentic, whose pending Horse of the Year Award is virtually in the bag.

Authentic won five graded stakes, including the Derby, bringing home the blue ribbon in the Grade 1 Haskell in New Jersey as well as the San Felipe Stakes and Sham Stakes in California. Crossing the finish line first in the BC Classic in November was just the icing on the cake for the three-year-old son of Into Mischief.

But Baffert has plenty of championship bloodlines in his barn and one of them is a Speightstown colt named Charlatan, who recently blew away the competition in the Runhappy Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita after a seven-month hiatus. The last time Charlatan raced was on May 2nd when he trounced the competition by six lengths in the first division of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby but was disqualified due to a medication violation that is currently under appeal. If you check out the horse racing odds on Charlatan you will find he is always among the favorites.

“We haven't really decided what we're going to do with him yet,” said Baffert. “It's too early. We'll give it a week.

“I thought he was going to need the race but he was a lot readier than I thought. We were hoping he would pick up where he left off, and he exceeded our expectations.

“He's just a brilliant horse. He came out of it in really good shape so we're excited. It was a good way to cap off the year.”

The irony is that although Authentic is the most well-known of the 24 yearlings in the first of three crops bought in 2018 by a partnership which included SF Racing, Starlight Racing, and Madaket Stables to form a group called "The Avengers", it was indeed Charlatan that showed the most promise of them all when he romped to a combined 16 length victory in his first two outings before he decimated the competition in the Arkansas Derby. "It was an incredible first crop," said Sol Kumin, head of the Madaket Stables group. "Spielberg (now a 2-year-old) won a big race for us (the Los Alamitos Futurity, G2) from the second crop and we have a few more in there we are excited about. We bought more horses in the third crop than the first two, I believe 32. We're excited about the next few years. We found a formula that works and we hope we can continue to execute the plan."

But then Charlatan’s drug test violation and an ankle injury derailed his Triple Crown aspirations allowing Authentic to take the forefront and steal the limelight with his Kentucky Derby victory. However, Charlatan appears to be back and better than ever after his dominating performance at Santa Anita on December 26th.

"Bob {Baffert} had him ready to run," said Jack Wolf, the CEO and managing partner of Starlight Racing. "He told us he was the best horse of the bunch and today he showed he's as brilliant as they come."

"I feel like a 500-pound gorilla is off my back," Baffert said. "He picked up where he left off. Every one of his races has been a 'wow' performance. Sometimes we forget how fast these horses are, but he's always been the brilliant one. The kind of brilliance you find in a horse like him is hard to come by."

Eclipse Awards

Despite 2020 being a year of infamy that everyone would rather soon forget, Bob Baffert was undeterred and thrived under circumstances in which many have folded under the pressure, "It's one of the best years I've ever had," said the Hall of Famer whose horses have earned more than $18 million but had horses embroiled in four drug violations that he categorized as happening due to contamination. "I have some great owners who stuck behind me. This was a very satisfying way to end the year."

More awards await Baffert and his steeds at the Eclipse Awards which will be hosted virtually by Spendthrift Farm on January 28th of 2021.

“Aligning the 50th Eclipse Awards with a historic property like Spendthrift Farm serving as the backdrop for the broadcast is a natural,” said Keith Chamblin, National Thoroughbred Racing Association Chief Operating Officer.

Chamblin further elaborated, “Earlier this summer when it became clear that the 2020 Eclipse Awards ceremony would need to be a virtual event, we began discussions with Spendthrift about hosting portions of the event. Not only is Spendthrift one of the leading stallion farms in the world, steeped in a great tradition of champions, under the leadership of B. Wayne Hughes it has led the way in introducing innovations to the industry like Safe Bet, Share the Upside, and MyRaceHorse.com.”

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