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Authentic’s immaturity almost cost him race at Haskell

Authentic’s immaturity was almost exposed in the Grade One Haskell Stakes on Saturday. Authentic’s raw talent was clearly on display as he broke quickly from the starting gate and gained the early lead. Although challenged by Ny Traffic, who attempted to cling to Authentic’s right flank all the way around the track, Authentic appeared to be traveling easily as he galloped around Monmouth Park’s oval.

What was not so obvious was the beautifully marked 3-year-old’s antics as he raced down the New Jersey shore back stretch. Jockey Mike Smith, who is already in the Hall of Fame, said that his mount was constantly looking around, and almost unseated him at one point. As the two leaders hit the top of the Monmouth Park stretch, Authentic easily pulled away from Ny Traffic. He looked to be home free, initially outdistancing that rival by several lengths.

Once clear, Authentic once again showed his immaturity. He started to idle as he was no longer feeling the presence of any other competitor.

Meanwhile, Ny Traffic was not giving in. He continued to dig in, and quickly closed the gap as the top two neared the finish line with Authentic crossing just ahead of Ny Traffic with Dr. Post a long way back in third.

Authentic, the beautiful red bay, came out of the race and certainly did not appear to be tired after the race. The close finish was more likely the result of inexperience than any distance limitations.

The Haskell is run at a 1 1/8th mile distance while the Kentucky Derby is raced at 1 1/4 miles. Many of the racing analysts were quick to say that Authentic would not be able to get the extra 1/8th of a mile in the Derby

Like many people who jump to conclusions without all the facts, they were criticizing a horse that had just won a G1, $1 million race. Mike Smith said the youngster has a lot of talent, and he was the one that was in a much better position fact-wise to make that determination.

And down the stretch they come!

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