LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Accelerate took the lead at the top of the stretch and held off Gunnevera to win the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by a length Saturday, strengthening his bid for Horse of the Year over Triple Crown winner Justify.
The race lacked the retired Justify and left a wide-open field, which the chestnut 5-year-old horse eventually overtook after breaking from the No. 14 post as the favorite. Accelerate made a sweeping move in the far turn and was in charge at the top of the stretch, then held off Gunnevera for his fifth consecutive Grade 1 victory and sixth of seven overall this year.
That gave trainer John Sadler his first Breeders’ Cup win since his first starter 30 years ago.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Accelerate covered 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.93 and paid $7.40, $6 and $4.40.
Gunnevera returned $21.80 and $11.80, while Thunder Snow paid $8 in redeeming himself at Churchill Downs after a last-place finish in the 2017 Kentucky Derby.