With no winners from 41 starters, John Sadler has run the most horses in the Breeders’ Cup without winning a race.
He has four representatives in this year’s event on Friday and Saturday at Churchill Downs including the morning-line favorite for the $6 million Classic with Accelerate and the $1 million Dirt Mile with Catalina Cruiser.
SELCOURT (Filly & Mare Sprint): A 4-year-old daughter of Tiz Wonderful, she has made just six starts, winning four. She has not raced since winning the Grade 2 Santa Monica on March 24th.
Sadler said due to ankle soreness, the filly was turned out for 60 to 90 days and he ran out of time to get a prep race into her.
“She does run well fresh, she’s a dangerous type,” Sadler said.
Selcourt drew the rail which means she will probably be sent away from the gate by Tyler Baze.
“It’s the worst post for her, but she’s a nice horse, she’s fast,” Sadler said. “Hopefully, she’ll get a good break and carry her speed.”
CATALINA CRUISER (Dirt Mile): This 4-year-old son of Union Rags is undefeated in four starts including a 7 1-4-length victory in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien at Del Mar in August.
“He was very immature as a young horse, he’s a very athletic horse, but he had some baby stuff,” Sadler said.
Sadler said the most impressive attribute Catalina Cruiser has is “he can go fast and keep going. His last race, he went 44-and-change on a dead track and he just kept going.”
In this one-turn mile, Catalina Cruiser has the outside post in a 10-horse field which should give jockey Drayden Van Dyke options.
CATAPULT (Mile): In the stable of Chad Brown last year, this 5-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy found a new home in Sadler’s Southern California barn. After getting beat in an allowance race to start his season in June, he has since come back to win the Grade 2 Eddie Read and Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, both at Del Mar during the summer.
“He got a little bit off a foot issue and missed a prep at Santa Anita, but he’s trained very well to belong in this race,” Sadler said.
Sadler said the biggest question mark could be the potential for soft turf.
“It’s an unknown, I think he’s a nice horse who’s going to run well,” Sadler said.
ACCELERATE (Classic): After disappointing in the BC Dirt Mile last year, he has climbed to the top of North America’s older male division with five victories in six starts including taking Grade 1 fixtures such as the Santa Anita Handicap, the Gold Cup, the Pacific Classic and the Awesome Again.
His lone loss this year came to City of Light in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap.
His victory in the Awesome Again, over fellow Classic contender West Coast, wasn’t as dominant as some of his other races, but Sadler was happy to win nonetheless.
“I don’t think I was all in on him in the Awesome Again with the idea of coming out of a mile and a quarter race, shortening up, let’s just a get a race in him and have him good and sharp for this one,” Sadler said.
He finished ninth as one of the leading fancies in last year’s Dirt Mile at Del Mar, a race from which emerged with a quarter crack.
“He’s been very good this year, really showed himself that he can get the big distances,” Sadler said.