The 2018 Breeders' Cup World Championships ended on Saturday with 9 races all with year-end championship implications. Just 70,423 fans were in attendance at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on a mostly sunny afternoon with a temperature of 55 when the Classic went to post.
Jockey Ryan Moore sent 13-1 Mendelssohn to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 22.68, 46.46, and 1:10.61 while pressed by McKinzie and stalked by 13-2 West Coast and 14-1 Thunder Snow. On the far turn, Mendelssohn continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:35.90 before tiring. Accelerate, 5th early under Joel Rosario, came out 4 wide into the stretch to gain the lead at the 3/16 pole. Accelerate held off late-running 30-1 Gunnevera by a length for the win in 2:02.93 over the fast main track. It was another 3/4 length back to Thunder Snow third.
Accelerate wins the Classic
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show
14 Accelerate Rosario 7.40 6.00 4.40
4 Gunnevera Ortiz Jr. 21.80 11.80
1 Thunder Snow Soumillon 8.00
Winning Time: 2:02.93
$1 Exacta 14-4 130.80
$1 Trifecta 14-4-1 1,613.10
$1 Superfecta 14-4-1-10 16,179.10
$1 Super High Five 14-4-1-10-9 343,497.90
$2 Pick Six 6-9-7-11-2-14 3,706.60
Left: Accelerate in the winner's circle. Winning trainer John Sadler, celebrating his first Breeders' Cup win, said, "It's obviously a point of contention for me, but we got the big one. He ran a great race and Joel rode him perfectly. We were really thrilled. He did such a good job, kept him clear. We thought that post might be a bonus on the outside. He never got in trouble and never had anything in front of him. He just stayed a little wide and won the race."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Classic. Winning owner Kosta Hronis said, I think he’s done something no one else has done. He swept the California G1s. He’s undefeated at 1 1/4 miles. I think today, they’ve been saying all along that, he had to win the Classic to be in the conversation. He won the Classic, and then I read somewhere where it said maybe he did this all on the wrong year, but maybe Justify won the Triple Crown in the wrong year, I don’t know. This horse is special. He’s showed up every time. He’s danced every dance. He’s been solid. This is Horse of the Year. It’s a body of work, and what he has done in the last 12 months, I think he’s well deserved to be of that honor."
Left: Accelerate walks over before the race. Sadler added, "We have an option to run him in the Pegasus. The plan right now is he’ll probably go up to Lane’s End Farm in Lexington tomorrow, and they’ll show him there as a stallion this week, we’ll bring him back to California, and if all is good, will probably go in the Pegasus, kind of our all-out Gun Runner of last year, and then he’ll go off to stud."
Right: Accelerate in the post parade. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "I was very confident in the backside when I got to the leader, when it cleared, and I can feel that he was getting nicely comfortable and it looked like he wanted to do that, and then I just — after that, I took the lead, and then I just had to keep after him because he’s the kind of horse, like I say, that he wants you to ride him, and then he give it to you."
Left: Accelerate parades with his flowers. Hronis added, "I just kept waiting to see the finish line. Just like it couldn’t come fast enough. When he came around the corner — Joel kept him out of trouble. He does like to stay a little to the outside. That seems to be his style, stays out of trouble, and I think that’s always been kind of a thing you want to do if you think you have the best horse, keep him out of trouble, let him run his race. If he gets beat, he gets beat."
Right: Accelerate heads back to the barn with his winner's blanket.
Left: Second place finisher Gunnevera returns after the race. Trainer Antonio Sano said, "I'm so happy for this horse. He ran second and had lost a couple lengths at the start. They sandwiched my horse. Every time we are closer and closer to winning a Grade 1. He's going to race in 2019 and will point to the Pegasus."
Right: Third place finisher Thunder Snow first time by. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said, "He's run a really big race. I'm very pleased with that. The winner is a very good horse. This race is special as it brings together the best horses in the world. We have better horses this year and we've had a better season. He could go to the Dubai World Cup again."
Left: The horses break from the gate for the Classic. Jockey Jose Ortiz aboard 4th place finisher Yoshida (10) said, "I didn't want to be as far back early as I was but I felt in the first quarter of a mile that they were running away from me. I felt like they were going very fast and I didn't want to rush him too early. I saw Gunnevera inside of me and I used him as a target and he took me to the 3/8 pole. I thought I was going to win the race when I was in the clear at the 1/4 pole but then I saw Gunnevera came back and beat me. It took him a while to get going but when he did, he got rolling."
Right: Shortly after the start with Mendelssohn on the lead, McKinzie in second, and West Coast third. Bob Baffert trainer of McKinzie and West Coast said, "They looked good for about a mile. They just tired and they just didn't have it today. (McKinzie) is lightly raced and playing catch-up. I thought West Coast would run a little better than that. Accelerate is a good horse and he was the best horse."
Saturday at the Breeders' Cup - Saturday had 9 Grade 1 Championship races, headlined by the Breeders' Cup Classic won by favorite Accelerate over Gunnevera and Thunder Snow. Also on the card, Enable won the Turf, Monomoy Girl won the Distaff, Expert Eye won the Mile, Roy H repeated in the Sprint, Sistercharlie won the Filly & Mare Turf, City of Light won the Dirt Mile, Stormy Liberal repeated in the Turf Sprint, and Shamrock Rose won the Filly & Mare Sprint. Get the results, charts, and photos here. More photos: Classic - Turf - Distaff - Mile - Sprint - F/M Turf - Dirt Mile - Turf Sprint - F/M Sprint
Breeders' Cup Weather - Check out the latest weather forecasts for the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs. Looks rainy and cold right now.
Review: Crushing the Cup 2018 - by Jim Mazur and Peter Mallett. An invaluable tool for trying to unlock the mysteries of handicapping the Breeders' Cup races at Churchill Downs. Updated for 2018, this is their 27th anniversary edition and seventh for Churchill Downs.
2017 Breeders' Cup Wrap Up - Records set, statistics, first-time winning jockeys and trainers, how previous winners finished, and more for the 34th running of the Breeders' Cup at Del Mar.
2017 Breeders' Cup Friday - There were four Breeders' Cup races on Friday at Del Mar headlined by the Distaff (G1) where Forever Unbridled held off Abel Tasman to win by a half length. Also on the card, Rushing Fall won the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), Battle of Midway won the Dirt Mile (G1), and Mendelssohn won the Juvenile Turf (G1). Get the results, charts, and photos for all 8 stakes on the card. More photos: Juvenile Turf -
Juvenile Fillies Turf - Dirt Mile - Distaff
The Breeders' Cup Championship Day - The official page for the Breeders' Cup championship races. Just about anything you need to know about it: results, video clips, and race calls for past years, and eventually nominations, entries, and results.
Free Prep Replays - for major prep races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge. The ones with camera logos have video available.
Breeders' Cup Supplemental Entries - The old official policy on supplemental entries plus all the supplemental entries and how they fared, mostly it was a losing proposition. There are no more supplements now, only late nominations making it impossible to track since the change.