Bob Baffert and John Velasquez proved an unbeatable combination putting in winning performances in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint with Gamine and with Authentic in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Both set track records.
Serengeti Empress, making her final career start, challenged Gamine early on, taking the lead. But Gamine pulled away effortlessly in the stretch, winning by 6 1/4 lengths. Her time for the seven furlong race was 1:20.20, breaking the previous track record of 1:21.32 set by Taris when she won the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes on Oct. 18, 2014. Serengeti Empress held on for second.
Gamine’s season has seen both highs and lows. She’s won three Grade 1 stakes races but also been disqualified twice for positive drug tests — first for lidocaine, which is used by veterinarians during lameness examinations to “block” or numb a horse’s limbs and which is also used by humans. Baffert’s attorney argued that the substance in tests was caused by a pain patch worn by a member of the trainer’s staff suffering back pain. The second time she tested positive for betamethasone, a cortosteroid, following the Kentucky Oaks where she finished third. No ruling has been made in that case pending the testing of the split sample.
Authentic proved his quality again with a wire to wire win in the Breeder’s Cup classic. After breaking sharply from the gate in post position 9, he led the field around the track and then dug in deep to win by 2 1/4 lengths. His time of 1:59.19 broke the track record set by American Pharoah in 2015. Improbable finished second, Global Campaign was third, Tacitus was fourth, Maximum Security finished fifth and Tiz the Law finished sixth.
Authentic and Improbable are both trained by Bob Baffert, as is Maximum Security. “Max” is still racing under a cloud as his previous trainer, Jason Servis, was indicted for drugging horses.
No fans yet at the races, but at least this time the owners got to watch!