“In getting the big one, I couldn’t ask for a better day,” said trainer John Sadler after ACCELERATE landed him The Classic at the 35th Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. Sadler, a Breeders’ Cup veteran, came into the Classic with a zero for 44 record, having saddled three earlier losers on the World Championships card, but under Joel Rosario, the trainer’s hoodoo was broken in some style.
Having tracked the strong early pace set by Mendelssohn, Rosario put his mount into the race proper turning for home, getting a clean run four-wide. The 5yo son of Lookin At Lucky first had to fend off the ultra-game Thunder Snow (3rd) half-way up the straight and then kept the fast-finishing Gunnevera (2nd) at bay readily.
While Sadler had his King in the Classic, John Gosden and Frankie Dettori had their Queen in the Turf. ENABLE, in holding the progressive 3yo filly Magical by ¾ of a length after a tough stretch duel, became the first ever horse to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same season. Both fillies stamped their authority on the race, pulling an incredible 9 lengths clear of the third home, Sadler's Joy.
Enable’s success would cap a fantastic night for Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms operation after EXPERT EYE overcame fears about seeing out the mile trip on rain-softened ground, again under the evergreen Dettori. Kept wide throughout and maybe on the best of the ground, Dettori crept into the race late and in the end, was a snug half-a-length winner.
The turf races are where the European raiders are historically strongest, but the Filly & Mare Turf would stay Stateside this year, Euro favourite Wild Illusion just going down in second. US turf giant Chad Brown would win yet another huge grass contest, with SISTERCHARLIE here, who was given a beautiful creeping ride by John Velazquez, who didn’t panic in the face of a pace bias up front.
The Distaff went the way of MONOMOY GIRL, who received an uncomplicated stalking-the-leader ride by Florent Geroux. She was a length winner in the end for the Brad Cox barn, holding the late charge of Wow Cat comfortably. The daughter of Tapizar sailed through all parts of the race easily, giving her fans and backers few worries. The same can’t be said for the race-favourite Abel Tasman however, who was never going from an early stage.
Training honours on the night would go to Peter Miller, who saddled a superb sprinting double, again, landing both the Sprint and Turf Sprint. ROY H would go back-to-back in the Sprint, following up the year’s previous Breeders’ Cup success at Del Mar. He was a classy 3¾ lengths winner, whereas STORMY LIBERAL only had a neck to spare in the Turf Sprint over front-running World Of Trouble. He too followed on from the previous year’s success at Del Mar. Take a bow Peter Miller!
Switching sexes and surfaces now, the Filly & Mare Sprint went the way of the Mark Casse-trained SHAMROCK ROSE. The daughter of First Dude was the biggest upset of the entire World Championships, landing at odds of 20/1 under Irad Ortiz Jr. This race looked a complete blowout for punters with 6/4 favourite Marley's Freed running fourth while Chalon (16/1) and Anonymity (20/1) hit the places.
The only horse to defeat Classic winner Accelerate all season would take out the Mile, CITY OF LIGHT for the Michael McCarthy team. The four-year-old was a dominate all-the-way winner under Javier Castellano, as race-favourite, Catalina Cruiser, trained by none other than John Sadler, could only finish sixth.
A new revamped format for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup meant, for the first time, all juvenile contests were run on the Friday, the opening day of the meet. The big race would go the way of GAME WINNER, Bob Baffert and Joel Rosario. Kept wide and off the pace throughout, Rosario and his mount challenged down the straight and the further they went, the better they looked.
Rosario would claim Friday riding honours, landing a card treble, but a Breeders’ Cup double when earlier landing the Juvenile Fillies aboard JAYWALK, this time for trainer John Servis. The grey-roan filly looked in rude health throughout; jumping smart, travelling enthusiastically and powering away late in the straight.
While she impressed, the performance of the evening, and maybe of the entire World Championships, came from Chad Brown’s NEWSPAPEROFRECORD in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Just under seven lengths she put between her and her nearest rival, the British-trained Kevin Ryan filly East. Having jumped smart under Irad Ortiz Jr, the daughter of Lope De Vega dictated matters from the start before quickening in supreme style to score.
Although they left another turf event behind to Chad Brown, the Europeans, namely Charlie Appleby, would win the Juvenile Turf with LINE OF DUTY. A son of Galileo running in the Godolphin Blue, under a power-packed William Buick the two-year-old dug deep in the straight to get up close home.
A new race was introduced, along with a new format of “Future Stars Friday”, the Juvenile Turf Sprint. While the Europeans were well-represented in the 5.5f contest, it was New York trainer Todd Pletcher who would take the inaugural running with BULLETIN under Javier Castellano.
Breeders' Cup 2018 Roll of Honour
|Classic||Accelerate||5||Joel Rosario||John Sadler||US|
|Turf||Enable||4||L Dettori||J H M Gosden||GB|
|Distaff||Monomoy Girl||3||Florent Geroux||Brad Cox||US|
|Mile||Expert Eye||3||L Dettori||Sir Michael Stoute||GB|
|Sprint||Roy H||6||Paco Lopez||Peter Miller||US|
|Filly And Mare Turf||Sistercharlie||4||John Velazquez||Chad Brown||US|
|Dirt Mile||City Of Light||4||Javier Castellano||Michael McCarthy||US|
|Turf Sprint||Stormy Liberal||6||Drayden Van Dyke||Peter Miller||US|
|Filly And Mare Sprint||Shamrock Rose||3||Irad Ortiz Jr||Mark Casse||US|
|Juvenile||Game Winner||2||Joel Rosario||Bob Baffert||US|
|Juvenile Turf||Line Of Duty||2||W Buick||C Appleby||IRE|
|Juvenile Fillies||Jaywalk||2||Joel Rosario||John Servis||US|
|Juvenile Fillies Turf||Newspaperofrecord||2||Irad Ortiz Jr||Chad Brown||US|
|Juvenile Turf Sprint||Bulletin||2||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||US|