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Every sport has a definitive year-ending event to crown its champions. In Thoroughbred racing, the Breeders' Cup World Championships is the culmination of the horse racing season worldwide and the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic is the defining event of the international racing season.
|Distance:||1 1/4 Miles||Age:||3+|
Race 11 on Churchill Downs's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:44 PM
|1||Thunder Snow (IRE)||12-1||Christophe Soumillon
|Saeed bin Suroor|
|2||Roaring Lion||20-1||Oisin Murphy
|3||Catholic Boy||8-1||Javier Castellano
|4||Gunnevera||20-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|5||Lone Sailor||30-1||James Graham
|7||West Coast||5-1||John Velazquez
|10||Yoshida (JPN)||10-1||Jose Ortiz
|11||Mind Your Biscuits||6-1||Tyler Gaffalione
|13||Discreet Lover||20-1||Manuel Franco
|Uriah St. Lewis|
|16||Toast of New York||20-1||Julien Leparoux
The Breeders' Cup Classic, run at 1 1/4 miles, draws the top international Thoroughbreds year after year. It is open to horses 3-years-old and older and is limited to 14 starters. Seven of this year's starters will gain automatic entries into the race by qualifying through Breeders' Cup Challenge series.
The $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic, the climactic event of the Championships, will be run on the main track at 1 ¼ miles with a first-place owner's prize of $3.3 million with purse payouts down to eighth place. The Classic is oversubscribed with 19 horses pre-entered and will be Race #11.
Hronis Racing's ACCELERATE has been the dominant older horse in North America this year. The 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky has been virtually unbeatable for trainer John Sadler, winning 5-of-6 starts, including four Grade 1 wins with the Santa Anita Handicap in March, Gold Cup at Santa Anita in May, and a pair of "Win and You're In" races for the Classic in the TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August and Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Sept. 29. Ninth in last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar, Accelerate suffered his only loss this year when he finished second to CITY OF LIGHT in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII) in April.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won an unprecedented three consecutive runnings of the Classic (2014-2016) with Bayern, American Pharoah and Arrogate. This year, Baffert has pre-entered three horses for the Classic, all coming off prep races after being sidelined for several months.
Gary and Mary West's WEST COAST, the 2017 3-year-old male Eclipse Award winner and third-place finisher in last year's Classic, began 2018 with a second-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) in January and was second to THUNDER SNOW (IRE) in the Dubai World Cup in March. The 4-year-old son of Flatter did not start again until Sept. 29, when he displayed a solid performance in the Awesome Again, finishing a game second to Accelerate.
Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman's MCKINZIE gives Baffert another major contender. A 3-year-old son of 2006 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Street Sense, McKinzie was a top Triple Crown contender this winter before being injured after winning the San Felipe (GII) at Santa Anita in March (he was disqualified and placed second). McKinzie, 4-of-5 lifetime, returned to the races on Sept. 22 and won the Pennsylvania Derby (GI) at Parx Racing.
Baffert's third Classic horse, Speedway Stable's 5-year-old COLLECTED, second in last year's Classic, is winless in two starts this year.
The European 3-year-old wild card who would be making his dirt track debut in this year's Classic is Qatar Racing's determined ROARING LION for trainer John Gosden. Roaring Lion, a gray/roan Kentucky-bred son of Kitten's Joy, has beaten older horses on the turf in his last four races, all Group 1 events, with three of those wins coming by a neck margin. Roaring Lion captured the Coral Eclipse at Sandown, the Juddmonte International at York; the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, and just last Saturday, the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. Gosden won the 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita with Raven's Pass.
Two other overseas stars are also pre-entered in the Classic. Godolphin's THUNDER SNOW (IRE) easily defeated West Coast in the Dubai World Cup and was second, beaten a neck, in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The 4-year-old son of Helmut (AUS) will try to redeem himself at Churchill. In the 2017 Kentucky Derby, he was escorted off the track after bucking after the start.
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's 3-year-old MENDELSSOHN won last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. A 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy, trained by Aidan O'Brien, Mendelssohn finished second in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga and was third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He's seeking some redemption of his own, having finished last in the Kentucky Derby.
A pair of contenders who came into the Classic division during the second half of this year are trainer Chad Summers, Shadai Farm and Head of Plains Partners' MIND YOUR BISCUITS and WinStar Farm and China Horse Club's YOSHIDA (JPN).
Mind Your Biscuits is one of the world's top one-turn horses, having won twice the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1). But Summers has switched him to longer distances since then, and Mind Your Biscuits responded with a second-place finish in the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga, and won the Lukas Classic (G3) at Churchill in September.
Yoshida, trained by two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Bill Mott, was a Grade 1 winner on turf before he was switched to the dirt in late summer and captured Saratoga's 1 1/8-mile Woodward (GI) on Sept. 1.
Two other older horses gained automatic berths into the Classic through Breeders' Cup Challenge wins. One is Paul Reddam's PAVEL, who took Churchill's "Win and You're In" Stephen Foster (GI) in June for trainer Doug O'Neill, though he was second, some 12 ½ lengths behind Accelerate when last seen in the Pacific Classic.
The other is the 5-year-old DISCREET LOVER, who is one of the "feel-good" stories of the Classic. Owned and trained by Uriah St. Lewis, Discreet Lover came from last place in the "Win and You're In" Jockey Club Gold Cup to nip Thunder Snow at the wire at odds of 45-1.
One other 3-year-old of note is Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stable, Siena Farm, and Twin Creek Racing Stable's CATHOLIC BOY, who scored back-to-back wins in the Belmont Derby (GI) on turf in July and Travers (GI) on the main track Aug. 25 at Saratoga. The son of More Than Ready has come a long way since running fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last year at Del Mar for trainer Jonathan Thomas.
|Breeders' Cup Race||Grade||Purse||Date|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint||TBD||$1,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf||I||$1,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies||I||$2,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf||I||$1,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Juvenile||I||$2,000,000||November 2|
|Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint||I||$1,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint||I||$1,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile||I||$1,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf||I||$2,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Sprint||I||$2,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Mile||I||$2,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Distaff||I||$2,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Turf||I||$4,000,000||November 3|
|Breeders' Cup Classic||I||$6,000,000||November 3|
|2018||Accelerate||Joel Rosario||John Sadler||2:02.93|
|2017||Gun Runner||Florent Geroux||Steve Asmussen||2:01.29|
|2016||Arrogate||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||2:00.11|
|2015||American Pharoah||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||2:00.07|
|2014||Bayern||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||1:59.88|
|2013||Mucho Macho Man||Gary L. Stevens||Katherine Ritvo||2:00.72|
|2012||Fort Larned||Brian Hernandez||Ian Wilkes||2:00.11|
|2011||Drosselmeyer||Mike E. Smith||William I. Mott||2:04.27|
|2010||Blame||Garrett Gomez||Albert M. Stall, Jr.||2:02.28|
|2009||Zenyatta||Mike E. Smith||John Shirreffs||2:00.32|
|2008||Raven's Pass||Frankie Dettori||John Gosden||1:59.27|
|Race Tracks||Time (EST)|