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Accelerate gives trainer Sadler first Breeders’ Cup World Championships win, and its a Classic

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

Prior to the running of Saturday’s $6 million Classic, trainer John Sadler did not look like a man who had not led a horse to the winner’s circle in any of the previous 44 Breeders’ Cup World Championship races he had entered.

Prior to Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, trainer John Sadler was all smiles, despite never having won a race at the World Championships in 44 attempts. Moments later, Accelerate remedied that with a convincing win in the 35th renewal of the Classic (photos by Mark Hansel).

Standing in the paddock at Churchill Downs after seeing his charge, Accelerate, led onto the track, Sadler smiled and joked with reporters and photographers.

He seemed oddly relaxed for a man facing the prospect of having to wait another year to get his first winner at the Breeders’ Cup.

One couldn’t help but wonder if he had a gut feeling that the unenviable streak was about to end. A little more than two minutes after the starting gate opened, it did.

Despite breaking from the 14 post and having to race wide around the Churchill Downs track, Accelerate, with jockey Joel Rosario aboard, assumed command turning for home.

Under strong urging from Rosario, the 5 year old chestnut held off lmild rallies from Thunder Snow and Gunnevera to win the 35th running of the Breeders Cup Classic by a length.

“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,” Rosario said. “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.”

Sadler had hit the board 10 times in Breeders’ Cup Races, including the $2 million Grade I Mile earlier Saturday, when Catapult got caught late by Expert Eye and finished second.

Jockey Joel Rosario leads Accelerate to the winner’s circle after capturing the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs Saturday.

Sadler said he was thrilled and admitted it was nice to finally bring a horse into the winner’s circle in a Breeders’ Cup race and it being the Classic made it even more special.

“This is what I do every day, every year for my whole career,” Sadler said. “In order to get the big one, I couldn’t ask for a better day.”

Accelerate is owned by Hronis Racing.

The win in the Classic was the fourth Grade I in a row for Accelerate and the fifth this year, including the Santa Anita Handicap and the Pacific Classic. He also won the Grade II San Pasqual.

Justify won the Triple Crown this year, before being retired to stud because of an injury. It would be unusual for a Triple Crown winner not to win the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year, but Kostas Hronis said his horse deserves consideration.

“I read somewhere where it said maybe he did this all in the wrong year, but maybe Justify won the Triple Crown in the wrong year,” Hronis said. “This horse is special, he’s showed up every time, he’s danced every dance. This is horse of the year, it’s a body of work, and what he’s done in the last 12 months, I think he’s well-deserved to be of that honor.”

Sadler said the plan right now is for Accelerate to go to Lanes End in Lexington to show as a stallion, then return to California, but his racing career may not be over.

Barry Weisbord of Breeders’ Cup Limited (right), toasts trainer John Sadler (left) and Owner Kosta Hronis on Accelerate’s win in the Classic.

The Pegasus World Cup, run at at Gulfstream Park in Florida in January, offers a $9 million purse, with $4million to the race winner. Saddler says that if all goes well Accelerate would finish his career with that race.

“If all is good, we’ll probably go in the Pegasus, kind of a-la Gun Runner of last year, and then he’ll go off to stud,” Sadler said.

Recaps of Saturday’s other Breeders’ Cup races provided by BC’s Bob Ehalt:

LONGINES TURF

The great Juddmonte Farms filly Enabled is one of eight horses who have won the famous Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

On Saturday, she became one of a kind.

Enable’s fabulous career now includes status as the only horse to win the Arc and the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) as she rolled to victory in the $4 million Longines Turf during the 35th edition of the World Championships at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

“The Queen of Juddmonte” was carried widest of all on the final turn but still managed to outduel Coolmore’s Magical by three-quarters-of-a-length to the wire in stretch battle between two European fillies.

Sadler’s Joy was nine lengths back in third, followed by Arklow and Waldgeist.

Jockey Frankie Dettori raises his arms to the heavens in celebration of Enable’s win in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf Saturday.

The 4-5 favorite paid $3.60 to win in the BC Turf.

It was Juddmonte’s seventh Breeders’ Cup win and the 14th for Dettori.

LONGINES DISTAFF

Monomoy Girl returned to the scene of her biggest win on Saturday and added an even more important victory to her brilliant resume.
Winner of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in May, Monomoy Girl faced older horses for the first time and handled them with the same aplomb as she has with her 3-year-old rivals as she registered a one-length victory in the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

“She’s gotten bigger, faster and stronger this fall,” said trainer Brad Cox after his first Breeders’ Cup victory.

An 9-5 favorite, Monomoy Girl paid $5.60 to win and covered the mile-and-an-eighth in 1:49.79.

MILE

Jockey Frankie Dettori caused trainer Sir Michael Stoute some worry, but it all worked out in the end as the famed European rider guided Juddmonte Farms’ Expert Eye to victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

At the back of the pack for much of the race, Dettori coaxed a potent late burst of speed out of Expert Eye in the final sixteenth of a mile to rally widest and record a half-length victory that soothed Stoute’s nerves.

“He scared me,” Stoute said about Dettori’s 13th Breeders’ Cup victory.

Fans watch the horses storm toward the finish finish line in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The race was won by Expert Eye, (#7 on the outside), with jockey Frankie Dettori aboard (click to enlarge).

The win was the eighth in the Breeders’ Cup for Stoute. It was the sixth for Juddmonte and their first in the BC Mile. Their last victory at the World Championships came with Arrogate in the 2016 BC Classic.

Expert Eye paid $13.80 and raced the mile in 1:39.80.

TWINSPIRES SPRINT

It was a double-double for owners Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen and trainer Peter Miller as Roy H took command approaching the quarter pole and pulled away for an encore victory in the $2 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

In taking the BC Sprint for a second straight year, Roy H duplicated the feat of stablemate Stormy Liberal, who recorded back-to-back wins in the BC Turf Sprint (G1) just three races earlier.

“I couldn’t be more proud. Words can’t describe my feelings,” Miller said.
Roy H, a 6-year-old gelding, joined Midnight Lute as the lone back-to-back winners of the BC Sprint and became the 18th horse in the 35-year history of the Breeders’ Cup to win consecutive editions of a stakes. It was his ninth win in 22 career starts.

Roy H, who paid $7.40 as the 5-2 second choice, covered the six furlongs in 1:08.24.

MAKER’S MARK FILLY & MARE TURF

Sistercharlie hit the front in the final strides and gave owner Peter Brant his first Breeders’ Cup victory since 1988 as the 4-year-old filly captured the $2 million Maker’s Mark BC Filly and Mare Turf (G1) by a neck at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

The victory was the third straight for Sistercharlie, all in Grade 1 company and by a combined margin of less than length. It also marked her fourth Grade 1 victory in 2018.

The 71-year-old Brant was one of the sport’s most prominent owners in the 1970’s and 1980’s but started winding down his stable in 1994 to focus on playing polo for his White Birch Farm team. A world-class polo player, Brant retired as an active player in 2016 and rebuilt his stable.
“I love this game and I’m happy I’m back,” an emotional Brant said in the winner’s circle. “This is the greatest win ever for me.”

Ridden by John Velazquez, Sistercharlie was timed in 2:20.96 for the mile-and-three-eighths on “good” turf. She paid $8.60 to win.

Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, a three-time Group 1 winner in Europe, was second, three-quarters-
of-a-length ahead of A Raving Beauty.

DIRT MILE

A young fan gets a good view of the races, with a little help, at Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs.

City of Light rushed up along the inside to grab the early lead and was never headed as he scored a front-running victory in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

After reeling off early fractions of 22.64 and 45.16 seconds under jockey Javier Castellano, City of Light pulled away at the top of the stretch to notch a 2 ¾-length victory.

Dismissed at 5-2 odds, City of Light paid $7.20 to win.

“It’s huge,” said owner William K. Warren, Jr. “Javier made the difference today. We had a great jockey and great trainer and that gave me a lot of confidence.”

Trained by Michael McCarthy, who posted his first Breeders’ Cup victory, City of Light has five wins in 10 career starts.

Bravazo, trained by Breeders’ Cup all-time wins leader D. Wayne Lukas, was third, 2 ½ lengths behind Seeking the Soul.

TURF SPRINT

Stormy Liberal made it back-to-back victories in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) as he wore down the pace-setting World of Trouble to register a neck victory in the second of Saturday’s nine Breeders’ Cup World Championship stakes at Churchill Downs.

Stormy Liberal became the first horse to win consecutive runnings of the Grade 1 stakes since Mizdirection won the 2012 and 2013 editions for part-owner Jim Rome, the national syndicated sports radio host.

Owned by Rockingham Ranch and David A. Bernsen and trained by Peter Miller, Stormy Liberal ($16) was fourth early on and then joined the pace-setting World of Trouble at the top of the stretch as they pulled away from their 12 rivals in a two-horse duel to the wire that was not settled until the final yards.

“The long-term goal is to triple up on this race next year,” Bernsen said about the 6-year-old gelding who was claimed for $40,000 on Oct. 16, 2016.
Disco Partner was third, 7 ¼ lengths behind World of Trouble, while Ruby Notion was fourth.

Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Stormy Liberal covered the the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.05 on a course labeled as “good” by Churchill Downs.

FILLY & MARE SPRINT

Shamrock Rose opened Day 2 of the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships with a jolt as she rallied from last to prevail by a head in the final strides of a tight, four-horse finish in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1).

Sent off at 25-1 odds, Shamrock Rose paid $53.80 to win and combined with 14-1 runner-up Chalon to comprise a $720 exacta to start the day.

Anonymity, at 31-1, was a neck back in third and put the finishing touches on a $12,242 trifecta.

Shamrock Rose is owned by Conrad Farms and trained by Mark Casse.

Owner Manfred Conrad showed his faith in his filly by paying a $130,000 supplemental fee to enter the Pennsylvania-bred.

“Why not run and enjoy the fun and excitement?” Conrad said. “If you lose, you lose.”

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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