Accelerate All the Way Outside as BC Fields Take Shape

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Accelerate | Benoit Photo

By Brian DiDonato

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky–Fields for this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships took shape Monday at the Rood & Riddle Post Position Draw on the main stage at the second-annual Equestricon, held this year in Louisville’s Kentucky International Convention Center.

A total of 191 entrants (48 international) from a record 221 pre-entries remained in contention for the 14 Breeders’ Cup contests set to be held Friday and Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Hronis Racing’s Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky), who enters the $6-million GI Breeders’ Cup Classic off a trio of Grade I victories out in Southern California, will break from the far-outside 14 post as he faces a full field (with two also eligibles) in the weekend’s main event.

“I’m glad they keep inviting me back for these events–I’m just happy to be in the room,” quipped Accelerate’s trainer John Sadler, who seeks a much-talked-about elusive first Breeders’ Cup win and who will also send out major contenders Catalina Cruiser (Union Rags, GI Dirt Mile) and Selcourt (Tiz Wonderful, GI F/M Sprint). Of Accelerate’s draw, he said, “At a mile and a quarter, you’re out in the clear and have plenty of time to make a trip. He’s got a good style; he doesn’t have to be way back, he can kind of press the pace if he wants–whatever [Joel] Rosario wants to do. That’s not a bad post at all.”

The Bob Baffert-trained duo of McKinzie (Street Sense, 6-1) and West Coast (Flatter, 5-1) drew next to each other in six and seven, respectively, while well-traveled Mind Your Biscuits (Posse, 6-1), the all-time richest New York-bred, will attempt

10 panels for the first time from stall 11.

“I kind of called 11 this morning,” said Mind Your Biscuits’s trainer Chad Summers. “We’re saddle towel ‘111’–there are a lot of ones going on… He’s a cool horse, and this is a dream come true. It’s kind of what the Breeders’ Cup is all about. When you buy a horse and you don’t make the GI Kentucky Derby, then this comes next.”

Back-to-back G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) will look to become the first horse to win that prestigious event and the GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same season. The shortest price on any of Mike Battaglia’s morning lines at even-money, she’ll break from gate two–just outside of last year’s upset winner Talismanic (GB) (Medaglia d’Oro).

The $2-million GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff features a clash of the last two GI Kentucky Oaks heroines back over the same track and trip, as leading sophomore filly Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) takes on her elders for the first time, including 2017 champion 3-year-old filly and Distaff runner-up Abel Tasman (Quality Road). The former, drawn in slot 11, was set as the 2-1 favorite as Abel Tasman looks to bounce back from an uncharacteristically dull effort last out in the GI Zenyatta S.

Back-to-back Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will run five in the $2-million GI Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup F/M Turf–the first time a conditioner has sent out five in a Breeders’ Cup race since D. Wayne Lukas did so when winning the 1988

GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, also contested at Churchill Downs.

For the first time, Friday’s Breeders’ Cup menu will feature all juvenile races–dubbed “Future Stars Friday”–including the inaugural running of the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. The $2-million GI Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies was the only juvenile race not to draw an overflow field, but the high-quality group will be led by 2-1 morning line choice Bellafina (Quality Road), who breaks from the far-outside 10 hole.

UnbeatenTDN Rising Star‘ Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) was given the 8-5 morning line nod in the GI Sentient Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as he looks to provide Baffert with a fourth win in that event.

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