Stormy Liberal wins Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint

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

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

SportsLine's Jody Demling nailed Gun Runner winning last year's Breeders' Cup Classic.

There was some craziness at the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Not to mention, establishing the top horse in several age divisions along with the top jockey and trainer.

In the final race of the meeting, the Breeders' Cup Classic, Accelerate saw off a three-strong challenge from European stables to give John Sadler his first Breeders' Cup victor at the 45th attempt.

The day was a curtainraiser to Saturday's nine-race slate featuring the $4 million Turf and the $6 million Classic.

It would be hard to dethrone Justify, racing's 13th Triple Crown victor, for the award, but the 3-year-old retired this summer after just six lifetime races against his own age group.

The pair duelled briefly before Enable asserted her authority to draw away over the final furlong and score by three-quarters of a length with Sadler's Joy a full nine lengths further back in third. "She really relaxed. She broke really sharp and wanted one thing-she wanted to go, so I dropped my hands and let her be happy and let her do it the rest of the way". "He's a really healthy, strong guy".

Speaking of Enable's light season, Godson added: "To be honest I would have preferred to bring her here after last year's campaign, which was absolutely smooth, yes she won five Group 1s but I would have liked to have come here a little bit on the crest of the wave".

The season-ending championships should also provide a glimpse of what to expect when racing returns to the historic track for next May's 145th Kentucky Derby. And Godolphin manager Hugh Anderson pointed out Godolphin has had four impressive 2-year-old winners in England, Ireland and France in the past few weeks so Sheik Mohammed's cupboard of 2019 Classic contenders is overflowing. "So we just feel very fortunate to have won the biggest races of our career here in Kentucky".

The gates of Churchill Downs opened to the world Friday for the first of a two-day celebration of horse racing.

Bob Baffert's decision to not run Justify in the Classic is offset by two horses coming off six-month breaks.

Accelerate claimed his fourth race in a row and answered the question of if he could continue his roll after beating West Coast by 2 1/4 lengths in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. McKinzie's Pennsylvania Derby victory came after he was disqualified to second in the Grade 2 San Felipe in March. It was the seventh win for the four-year-old Irish-bred filly who was sent off as the 3-1 second choice. Wonder Gadot faded to ninth while Abel Tasman, the 2017 Kentucky Oaks victor, faded to last in the 11-horse field.

As for the California-based Accelerate being named this year's top thoroughbred, Sadler said he'd leave that up to media who vote on the Eclipse Awards. It's wonderful for her owner-breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah.

Line of Duty charged late for a gritty victory in the Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs on Friday, giving trainer Charlie Appleby a remarkable third Breeders' Cup victor in five attempts.

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