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Authenticity Nips On Fire Baby in Thriller

Padua Stables Authenticity outgamed On Fire Baby by a head to win the 28th running of the $335,100 La Troienne presented by Steelcase and ORI (Grade II) for fillies and mares on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Authenticity covered the mile and a sixteenth on a fast main track in stakes-record time of 1:42.09. The previous stakes record was 1:42.43 set by Shadow Cast in 2005.
Authenticity and On Fire Baby were both keen to take the lead and they led the field of seven as a team through fractions of :24.80, :48.45 and 1:12.39. Turning for home, the leading duo repulsed a bid from 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can and dueled to the wire with Authenticity holding off a resurgent On Fire Baby.
The victory was worth $203,607 and improved Authenticity’s earnings to $313,362 with a record of 7-3-2-1.
Authenticity is a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Quiet American out of the Deputy Minister mare Court of Appeal.
Authenticity returned $12.20, $4.80 and $3.40. On Fire Baby, ridden by Joe Johnson, returned $4.80 and $2.80 with favored Believe You Can finishing 4 ¾ lengths back in third under Rosie Napravnik and returning $2.20 to show.
It was 2 ½ lengths back to Class Included, who was followed in order by More Chocolate, Imposing Grace and Draw It.
Todd Pletcher, trainer of Authenticity, winner: “This is a huge win for us on a number of fronts. This mare has been working in company with (Kentucky Derby starter) Verrazano. That goes a long way toward solidifying what he’s been doing. It is also Johnny’s (Velazquez – the rider for Verrazano) first win back in only his second ride. And we’re winning a good race against a good mare (favorite On Fire Baby). So it was good, good, good.”
John Velazquez, rider on Authenticity, winner: “I said to Todd (Pletcher), ‘I hope she breaks the same way she did in Florida, and she did. I took a position. The other horse (On Fire Baby) was right there next to me. She was going nice and easy. I just left her alone and went from there. I asked her to run and she ran and the other horse was coming at me. I wasn’t sure, but every time the other horse came to her, she gave another spurt. I’m feeling great. It’s great to be here.”
Joe Johnson, rider on On Fire Baby, runner-up: “She ran hard. She ran her race. The weight might have made a bit of a difference and from the post position I had to use her a bit early. But she did good. She ran her race.”
Rosie Napravnik, rider on Believe You Can, third: “She stumbled at the start. As a matter of fact, it was a little reminiscent of the Mother Goose at Belmont. She ended up settling OK and she ran all right, but the pace was so slow and she does her best work on the front. I think the two on the lead had so much left from producing such a slow pace.”


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