Social media followers of Spendthrift Farm and MyRacehorse.com, as well as the thousands of microshare owners who have a stake in Champion 3-year-old Male and Horse-of-the-Year Authentic ($7,201,200), inevitably caught a glimpse of the much-publicized videos of the Kentucky Derby (G1 winner arriving at picturesque Spendthrift on November 9, 2020, following his victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Lexington's Keeneland Race Course. Assembled for the newsworthy occasion were prominent members of the Thoroughbred racing press, eager for great photographs, video footage and quotes. Authentic's trainer, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who had previously proclaimed the Into Mischief son as "the best horse in America today" (Frakes), led the colt down the ramp of the Sallee Horse Vans gooseneck trailer, posed him and made remarks to the press. Nearby stood a grandfatherly figure with a rollator walker and a smile. Hughes had reason to be proud and enthusiastic, but Authentic was neither his first big winner nor the first promising stallion prospect to step out of a horse van at Spendthrift.
Spendthrift's fabulous race mare, Beholder ($6,156,000), half-sister to Into Mischief ($597,080) and Mendelssohn ($2,542,137), was a winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), twice victor in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) and a multiple Eclipse Award winner. During Hughes' years at Spendthrift, Beholder and Authentic were the most prominent winners, but the Spendthrift racing stable has made a good showing of itself in various major races, particularly with Kris S. son, Action This Day ($422,484), winner of the 2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and the Eclipse Award for Outstanding 2-year-old Male.
Hughes, regarded as a pioneer in the Thoroughbred industry, implemented incentives and innovative programs to benefit breeders, and welcomed the concept of allowing investors to acquire microshares in racing stock. A 12.5% equity-based share of Authentic, for example, was sold to micro investors through MyRacehorse.com amid the eventual champion's racing career prior to his victory in the Haskell Stakes (G1). During Hughes' years at Spendthrift, the farm stood leading sires Malibu Moon (1997 2021) and Into Mischief. Meanwhile, Spendthrift remains in the very capable hands of Hughes' son-in law Eric Gustavson and daughter Tamara Hughes Gustavson, with an extensive supporting team that includes industry veterans Ned Toffey, General Manager, and Mark Toothaker, Stallion Sales Manager.