Outstanding performer Accelerate (5h Lookin at Lucky x Issues, by Awesome Again) capped an amazing year when posting his fifth Grade I victory of 2018 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs before a crowd of 70,000 plus.
He gave his trainer John Sadler his first Breeders’ Cup win when powering to a length victory in the mile and a quarter contest worth more than $5million.
Accelerate drew the widest gate in the field of 14, but was still sent to the post favourite after dominating the Californian Grade I handicap division this year and proved much the best under a cool ride from Joel Rosario.
“That was about as good as it gets,” Rosario said. “That horse is simply unbelievable. I’m so happy for the owners and John. It was a great performance. He has so much heart.”
A $380,000 Keeneland September purchase, Accelerate runs for Hronis Racing and was the most expensive yearling by his sire sold in 2014. He has the overall record of 10 wins and 10 placings from 22 starts with prizemoney topping $5.7million.
“You know, we're prepared for the worst and hope for the best,” John Sadler said after the win. “You know, you never know. I mean, horse racing is a great sport, and this horse has been good. I felt good about him today. I think [winning owner] Kosta [Hronis] said the same thing. He's been the best horse in this division all year, so I thought if we had a good trip, he'd be tough.”
Accelerate could stake a claim to be Horse of the Year according to his owner, despite the presence of unbeaten Triple Crown winner Justify, who is now retired to Ashford Stud.
“I think he's done something no one else has done,” Kosta Hronis said. “He swept the California Grade I’s. He's undefeated at the mile and a quarter. I think today, they've been saying all along that, he had to win the Classic to be in the conversation. He won the Classic, and then I read somewhere where it said maybe he did this all on the wrong year, but maybe Justify won the Triple Crown in the wrong year, I don't know.
“This horse is special. He's showed up every time. He's danced every dance. He's been solid. This is the Horse of the Year. It's a body of work, and what he has done in the last 12 months, I think he's well deserved to be of that honor. There's no doubt.”
A half-brother to stakes-winners Amarish and Daddy DT, Accelerate is from the good producing stakes-placed mare Issues and is the best offspring to date for Champion Two and Three Year Old Lookin at Lucky.
Lookin at Lucky nearly made it a BC double with his high class South American bred daughter
Wow Cat (4m Lookin at Lucky x Winter Cat, by Cat Thief) finishing second in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff.