REGINA -- A local Regina woman is a proud horse owner of the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner, “Authentic."

Valli Johnson, who was a member of the Regina Pony Club in the 1970s and 80s, is a part-owner of the three-year-old thoroughbred.

Authentic finished the Kentucky Derby first, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Tiz the Law; the “Run For the Roses” favourite.

The horse enthusiast purchased a micro share for $204 USD, to own 0.001% of Authentic. Johnson.

“I think I own one of the hairs on his muzzle, but it’s the winning hair,” Johnson laughed.

The opportunity arose as part of a new horse ownership business model. The website pioneered the ownership concept, which aims to educate and build transparency around the horse racing industry.

Johnson is one of 5314 people who can claim ownership of Authentic.

“I researched the company and then I researched the horses, their bloodlines, their owners, their jockeys, everything about them and Authentic was by far the best,” Johnson said.

The ownership also offers some interesting, inside the stable perks.

“They send us workout videos of him, they send us interviews with the trainers and with the jockeys,” said Johnson.

Johnson owned two horses growing up in Regina, ‘Stormy Time’ and ‘Tequila’. However, a surgery 40 years ago halted her riding career. Now, the horse fanatic is getting back in the saddle in a sense.

“Being a horse owner a million years ago I just had to have a part of this horse,” said Johnson. “I never thought I’d ever be able to own a horse again and this is probably the only way I ever will.”

On Sept. 5, when the gates opened for the Triple Crown race at Churchill Downs, Johnson prepared in style.

“I have no idea what goes in a mint julep, so I had a mint Baileys instead,” she said.

Then she almost spilled the drink watching Authentic down the final stretch of the race.

“All the way down the stretch, I was crying, I had tears just streaming down my face,” Johnson said.

Authentic crossed the finish line at 2:00:61, the fastest time in 19 years. The horse also won $1.8 million dollars.

The ownership entitles Johnson to lifetime racing and breeding rights, but she won’t make a dime off the race.

“You don’t get into horses to make money,” Johnson said. “We may get a few dollars in the end.”

The many fees associated with maintaining a horse will come out of the horse’s winnings and the investment from the micro-shares, meaning Johnson never has to contribute more than the initial fee.

One day, Johnson may earn a few dollars, or even her $204US investment back, but that’s not the point of what she’s doing.

“I own a Kentucky Derby Winner, that’s all I care about.”