Accelerate justified strong American expectations to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.
While Eurpean raiders Thunder Snow and Mendelssohn played their part in the showpiece race on dirt, it was Accelerate who prevailed under Joel Rosario to end trainer John Sadler’s long wait for a win at the Breeders’ Cup.
Reluctant to go into the stalls, Accelerate was ready to race once they opened and soon had a decent position from his wide draw, as Ryan Moore set the pace on Mendelssohn.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge kept up the gallop until the straight, but he was eventually swallowed up by the pack.
Godolphin’s Thunder Snow, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, came with a big run under Christophe Soumillon and stuck on well for third spot.
However, Accelerate was a worthy winner, with Gunnevera second.
John Gosden’s Roaring Lion could never get competitive on his first try on the surface and was well beaten. This year’s Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and QEII hero now heads for retirement.
Gosden said: “He was smashed up leaving the gate, which put him in the wrong position as he got the worst of it (kickback).
“And after that we were on the back foot completely. He’s finished now, he’s been a fabulous horse, with a great attitude to life.”
Bin Suroor said of Thunder Snow: “He ran his heart out, I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Winning trainer Sadler said: “It feels really good. We’ve brought a lot of horses here, so I think we should get some credit for that.
“I said to Joel I hope you’d be third coming into the last turn and sweep him wide.
“Obviously it’s been a point of irritation for me (not having a Breeders’ Cup winner), but we’ve got the big one so it’s a really good day and were second with Catapult in the Mile, so that was rewarding.”