BY D’ARCY EGAN
Karen Evans of Catawba Island knew she had a Kentucky Derby winner in Authentic, a dynamic three-year-old thoroughbred. Now it’s on to the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.
While Tiz the Law was the 3-5 favorite in the 146th Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5, Evans said she knew her horse, 8-1 second choice Authentic, “had the numbers. All you had to do was to look at his workouts before the Kentucky Derby.”
While the other three-year-olds in the full field breezed over six furlongs prior to the big race, Authentic powered his way for one mile, a much longer distance. Hall of Fame jockey John Velasquez was expected to let Authentic run early and take the lead, but not expected to last.
But the colt did, clocking the mile and a quarter in 2.00.6 for a 1 1/4-length victory.
When Authentic and Tiz the Law clash again in the Preakness, Evans plans to be there, along with many of the other micro-owners of Authentic. The MyRaceHorse Stable, which had offered the small slices of ownership in Authentic, owns the colt with Spendthrift Farm, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing.
“I’ve got 20 shares in Authentic, which cost me $206 per share,” said Evans. “When Authentic wins, we all get a small share of the winnings. But I’m the only one of the micro-owners who also has a share of the breeding rights for Authentic. After he is done racing, he’ll be earning major stud fees.”
After winning the Kentucky Derby, the value of the colt that cost $350,000 at the horse sales soared to an estimated $16 million, said Evans. When he wins the Preakness and the Breeder’s Cup, she says, the sky is the limit.
Evans admits Authentic’s owners were a bit lucky when the Kentucky Derby was delayed this year from May 2 to Sept. 5 because of COVID-19. Authentic was a late foal, born on May 5 three years ago. Every thoroughbred has a birthday on Jan. 1. The late Kentucky Derby gave Authentic time to grow and mature, said Evans, catching up with the other three-year-olds born earlier in the year.
His Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was surprised Authentic had plenty left in the tank to hold off Tiz the Law in the stretch.
“I though he’d be a little tired, but the track was in really good shape and it was fast, and he got over it really well,” said Baffert.
Evans retired from teaching several years ago, after a stint as an adjunct professor at Ohio State University. She loves traveling to be with the horses, and living with her children on Catawba.
“I’m not a bettor, but I do love being in the horse barn and around all of the horses,” said Evans. “I try to spend part of the winter at the races in New Orleans, and at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. I have three horses racing there right now.
“The horse racing hobby encourages me to travel, it’s a healthy sport and inexpensive,” she said. “It’s the perfect investment for someone over 50 or 60 years of age, especially retired people.
Her conduit to horse ownership has been www.myracehorse.com, which creates the micro-ownerships. While most take a flyer on an unknown race horse, Evans does her home work and studies the past performance of the horses and their equine parents.
“I believe in “myhorserace.com as a way to rejuvenate horse racing,” she said. “And while most who get involved want to be in the stands and a spectator when their horse runs, I’d rather be in the barn with the horses, not drinking mint juleps.”
Evans began her ownership career in 2017, and her stable has expanded to 13 horses, 12 with my racehorse.com. There have been lots of ups and downs, but also a lot of fun.
“About 120 micro-share owners are going on an Authentic-themed cruise to get to know each other, and even Bob Baffert is interested in that,” she said.
While she will probably never connect with another horse as talented as Authentic, she said that Amandrea, Solar Strike, Lady Valentine and Joyful Addiction, among her other horses, are fun to be around.