ACCELERATE surged down the stretch to win the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Saturday to deliver trainer John Sadler his first career win at the championships in 45 tries.
The favoUred, 5/2 colt was reluctant to enter the starting gate before the race and spent much of the 1 1/4-mile run in the middle of the pack.
But he saved the best for last, overtaking the leaders from the outside after the final turn to win the jewel of horse racing’s richest event under sunny skies in Kentucky.
The five-year-old beat runner-up Gunnevera (30-1) by a length and third-placed Thunder Snow (14-1) by 1 3/4 lengths.
“It feels really good,” said Sadler, who now has a 1-3 record in the Classic and a 1-45 record overall at the annual competition, which draws the best thoroughbreds from around the globe.
“We’ve brought a lot of horses here so I think we should get some credit for that.”
Jockey Joel Rosario said winning the 14-horse race against a deep and talented field was anything but easy.
“You can tell I had to ride him really hard,” an out of breath Rosario said while still on the back of the chestnut colt, who has now won four consecutive Grade One starts.
“He is the kind of horse you have to ride him the whole way.”
The win wraps up an impressive weekend by Rosario, who won the Juvenile Fillies and Juvenile races on Friday before securing the Classic on Saturday for his ninth career win at the Breeders’ Cup.