Breeders' Cup 2018 Results: Replay Video, Highlights and Recap for Classic RaceNovember 3, 2018
Veteran trainer John Sadler was carrying around a monkey on his back, as he had never won a Breeders' Cup race in his long and successful career.
However, that changed when Accelerate had a powerful stretch run Saturday and won the Breeders' Cup Classic in dramatic fashion at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
The $6 million Classic capped a spectacular day of racing under the Twin Spires. Accelerate was hesitant to load into the starting gate from his No. 14 position, and the rest of the field had to wait for him.
Once the gates opened, Accelerate had a decent start and worked his way into the middle of the field. That was an important development because jockey Joel Rosario was able to rally his horse from a workable position as opposed to the back of the field, where he would have had a much more difficult time negotiating through the traffic.
Accelerate paid $7.40, $6.00 and $4.40; Gunnevera finished second and paid $21.80 and $11.80; and Thunder Snow was third and paid $8.00. Here's a link to the official results from the Classic, which featured 14 runners.
Accelerate was in a position to make his move as he neared the top of the stretch. He passed Mendelssohn and moved into the lead and was able to hold off Gunnevera for the notable victory.
The win was Accelerate's sixth of the year and makes him a candidate for Horse of the Year. Sadler was very pleased with his horse's effort.
"He's deserving of winning the awards this year," Sadler said, per Jonathan Lintner of Horse Racing Nation. "He was running a little shorter distance last year. This year he came out in good shape. As we'd ask him the questions, he'd answer them. I think as a five-year-old he has a very strong constitution. We have to train him hard to run in these long-distance races, and we did. He held up to it."
Trainer Bob Baffert had two horses in the Classic, and both McKinzie and West Coast were expected to mount strong challenges. While both had solid starts, neither horse was a factor during the late run down the stretch. McKinzie struggled to a 12th-place finish, and West Coast finished seventh.
Roaring Lion, one of Europe's top runners, never took to the Churchill Downs track and finished last. Catholic Boy was one of the top choices in the race, but he was bumped after leaving the gate and finished 13th.