Olympic athletes say that “medaling” only makes them want to score higher in the ascent to Olympic gold, and although racehorses get only a single chance at each of the Triple Crown races, their sires do not. Tapit, for instance, has sired a trio of Belmont Stakes winners, and the great classic racer and sire Unbridled produced a Triple Crown of classic winners (Grindstone in the Kentucky Derby; Red Bullet in the Preakness; and Empire Maker in the Belmont).
Among stallions who haven't yet earned gold in the Triple Crown, none would be hungrier for the top spot than 2019 leading general sire Into Mischief (by Harlan's Holiday). The robust bay has already medalled with Audible in the Kentucky Derby, and Into Mischief has had multiple winners of Triple Crown preps since his first crop, which included Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents and G3 Gotham Stakes winner Vyjack.
Other notable Triple Crown prospects for the sire were the second-crop Vicar's in Trouble (Louisiana Derby), One Liner (Southwest Stakes), and Owendale (Lexington Stakes), who skipped the Derby and finished third in the Preakness Stakes last year.
The effectiveness of Owendale, Audible, and Goldencents in distances past a mile has marked them as special representatives for their sire, whose general run of stock seem to show their best at distances up to a mile, including 2019 Eclipse champion Covfefe and the highly regarded young stallion Practical Joke, who won the G1 Hopeful and Champagne at 2 going distances up to a mile, then was just touched off in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Fountain of Youth, and Blue Grass at distances just past a mile.
Saturday, March 7, marked a pair of victories in Triple Crown preps for sons of Into Mischief. Now the winner of two preps in 2020, Authentic won the G2 San Felipe after the Jan. 4 Sham Stakes, and Mischevious Alex won the G3 Gotham after the Feb. 1 Swale.
Having won at a mile and most recently at 8 ½ furlongs in the San Felipe, Authentic won the strongest-looking prep to date in 2020 with a 2 ¼-length victory over the highly regarded Honor A.P. (Honor Code), who was 3 ½ lengths ahead of 2019 champion 2-year-old colt Storm the Court (Court Vision), and with the previously unbeaten Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile) fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds LLC, Authentic is a May 5 foal and sold to SF Bloodstock/Starlight West for $350,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September sale as Hip 2616. Consigned by Bridie Harrison for breeder Blum, Authentic sold at the eighth session of the world's largest yearling sale.
There are agents and owners who will tell you the “good” horses have all been selected and vetted and sold in the earlier sessions. There are also some very smart agents and owners who watch and wait and know a good horse when they see one, whether it sells the first day or the last.
And Authentic was hard to miss. He was a really good horse and sold like one too. He brought the second-highest price of the session.
The San Felipe winner is out of the Mr. Greeley mare Flawless, a winner from two starts at 3, and Authentic is the mare's fourth foal and third winner. The mare's other foals to this point are not headliners, and the second generation of this pedigree had gone rather cold, with no black type production.
The third dam, however, is stakes winner Really Fancy, winner of the G3 Anoakia Stakes and the dam of three stakes-placed racers. Her most important foal is the good-class winner Dixie Holiday (Dixieland Band), who produced stakes winner Holiday Runner (Meadowlake), the dam of G1 winners Reynaldothewizard (Speightstown), winner of the G1 Golden Shaheen, and Seventh Street (Street Cry), winner of the G1 Apple Blossom and Go for Wand Stakes.
The fourth dam is Native Fancy (Our Native), winner of the G2 Hollywood Lassie at 2 and the California Oaks at 3. In addition to foaling Really Fancy, Native Fancy is the dam of Blushing Heiress (Blushing John), winner of the G2 Wilshire Handicap.
This is a family that has shown considerable speed, especially at 2, but that also has the potential to develop the class to carry its speed. That is the multi-million-dollar question for Authentic as the days and weeks draw toward the first Saturday in May.
Will he have the finesse to carry his undoubted speed 10 furlongs and get the gold at Churchill Downs?
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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