Lo Duca: My Card for The 2018 Breeders’ Cup

Game Winner winning the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita

The $6 million Cup Classic is the marquee race that could help determine which thoroughbred ends up as Horse of the Year, not to mention establishing the top horse in several age divisions along with the top jockey and trainer. 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. "I know he is a really good horse and he had to show it today, that he was the best". To win the Santa Anita Handicap (in March) was for me probably one or two on my bucket list.

The race was without Triple Crown hero Justify, who was retired in July.

Neil Drysdale, with a Kentucky Derby victor (Fusaichi Pegasus), a Breeders' Cup Classic victor and Horse of the Year (A.P. Indy) on his Hall of Fame resume, chose to walk the politically correct line. Defending champion Roy H, who ran down Imperial Hint to win last year's Sprint, dominated this year's race and won easily.

"The Classic is a newer race but a great race, and he won that so smashingly". "With what he accomplished, in such a short amount of time, he deserves Horse of the Year", Cox said.

"Oh absolutely. I think that way all the time", Sadler said.

Baffert was looking to do the same as two of his horses, McKinzie and West Coast, were competing in the showcase race.

"They looked good for a mile", Baffert said. She just runs them off their feet ...

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He had to wait for a review before wearing the purple and yellow Breeders' Cup winner's blanket as the stewards looked at a bump with Uncle Benny just before the wire.

Gunnevera, Thunder Snow and early pace setter Mendelssohn made things interesting before 70,423, an upside to the absence of horse racing's 13th Triple Crown victor from the Classic. The 4-year-old filly has now won nine straight races and has two wins in the Arc de Triomphe on her resume.

She recorded back-to-back Arc victories last month and was strongly fancied in her bid for immortality. Not only was the start of her 2018 campaign delayed by injury, Gosden said there was the "slight hiccup" of a fever between her first start this year, in the September Stakes at Kempton, and the Arc.

The two-year-old filly was chosen as one of 12 runners for the 5½-furlong Juvenile Turf Sprint on “Future Stars Friday” and produced a gutsy display to earn $50,000 for her handlers.

"We want to thank our gracious hosts from Churchill Downs, the greater Louisville community, our fans around the world as well the owners and breeders who participate in our racing programs for an incredible week capped by two extraordinary days of racing".

Europe's other big Classic contender, Roaring Lion, came into the race off four straight victories, but in his first test on dirt was never a factor and finished last.

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