Breeders' Cup off and running at Churchill Downs

Sunday, 04 Nov, 2018

In the $6m Breeders' Cup Classic, few would argue that anything can happen. Delgado credited an up to $40,000 travel allowance for overseas horses easing owner costs, an increase in overseas Challenge races keeping the event out front with horsemen, and old-fashioned recruiting led by Breeders' Cup director of racing and nominations Joshua Christian, who spends the racing season in Europe. "The horses aren't used to it and they start losing the rhythm of their breathing".

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. The 3-year-old also won the Grade 3 Sham at Santa Anita. "Nothing like winning one". The big question: Can he carry his dominant form away from the friendly confines of his home state?

Trainer Jason Servis said Jawalk's "cruising speed is wicked". He has many indicators of a vulnerable favorite.

Winning trainer Charlie Appleby, who has had a stellar year, said it's "a bit early" to talk about Line of Duty as a candidate for the Investec Derby next spring. 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. McKinzie's Pennsylvania Derby victory came after he was disqualified to second in the Grade 2 San Felipe in March. He's inexperienced but full of talent. If this proves to have been her final race - and there is no news on that yet - it was a magnificent conclusion to an exceptional career.

"Any other horse, he would've been done".

Line of Duty, a Galileo colt running in the colors of Sheik Mohammed's Godolphin racing, finished second twice in England before breaking through with his first win September 4 at Goodwood. Physically he is a different horse than that who lost two shoes in the Juddmonte, and it would not be a shock to see the Dubai World Cup hero also hitting the board. He returned from a lengthy six-month break to finish second behind Accelerate in the Awesome Again Stakes last month in California. On Saturday, gates will open at 8 a.m., and the first race is set for 10:45 a.m. We beat Accelerate in Arkansas, and now we've beaten this West Coast horse, Catalina Cruiser.

Rosario closed out the Breeders' Cup action with a rousing score aboard the undefeated Game Winner. Thunder Snow will return to Churchill Downs for the second time in his career on Saturday and his human connections hope he has no memory of his first trip there. "Turning for home the more I rode him the more he gave it to me", said Rosario. Jockey Paco Lopez earned his first Breeders' Cup victory. While he's an unlikely victor on Saturday, he will certainly have the sentimental race fans among us in his corner.

This year's Breeders' Cup marks the 35th running of the Classic and will be broadcast by NBC with a scheduled post time of 5:44 p.m. ET.

Here's the information you need to watch the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday.