LOUISVILLE, Ky. – John Sadler, winless in 44 Breeders’ Cup starts entering the Classic on Saturday, understood why he was the focal point in the immediate aftermath of Accelerate’s victory, but by Sunday morning, he very much wanted the emphasis to be on Accelerate and what he had accomplished in 2018.
“Five Grade 1s, four at a mile and a quarter, one at a mile an eighth, took on all comers, didn’t duck anyone,” Sadler said at Churchill Downs, listing Accelerate’s many accomplishments this year. “I couldn’t be more proud of the campaign he had. I want people to think about that. The human-interest story was great. But the focus needs to be on him, not John. What a campaign.”
It’s a campaign that undoubtedly brings Accelerate the Eclipse Award as champion male dirt horse and makes him a worthy rival for Triple Crown winner Justify for Horse of the Year, something that seemed unthinkable immediately following the Belmont Stakes.
Accelerate got a Beyer Speed Figure of 105 in the Classic.
Accelerate is scheduled to race once more, in the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26. After a brief stay in Kentucky this week, he will return to Sadler’s barn at Santa Anita to prepare for that race.
Accelerate late Sunday morning was sent to Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky. He will begin stud duty there in February, but he is being shown this week to prospective breeders, similar to what Three Chimneys did last year with Gun Runner after he won the Classic at Del Mar. Gun Runner then won the Pegasus before going to stud.
Several other Classic runners are remaining in training.
Yoshida, who was fourth, will continue with a dirt campaign, with a potential next start in the Pegasus, too, trainer Bill Mott said Sunday. Yoshida is a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf. The Pegasus in January at Gulfstream Park now has a grass race as well as a dirt race. So, Yoshida would seemingly be a candidate for either race.
“As good as he’s run on dirt, I think we would keep him on dirt for the time being,” Mott said.
Mott said Yoshida would head to his winter quarters in Florida at Payson Park in the coming days.
Mind Your Biscuits, who was 11th, will “retire or run in the Cigar Mile,” trainer and co-owner Chad Summers said Sunday.
“He’ll run in the Cigar Mile if he’s knocking down the barn,” said Summers, who said Mind Your Biscuits would head to New York on Wednesday or Thursday.
In the Classic, Mind Your Biscuits was caught wide for much of the race and never kicked it in.
“Wasn’t our day,” Summers said. “He was traveling fine for a half-mile, and then it was like he was in quicksand.
“Tyler,” he said, referring to jockey Tyler Gaffalione, “took care of him. He just chose the wrong day for it not to be his day.”
Mind Your Biscuits goes to stud in Japan next February at co-owner Shadai Farm.
McKinzie, who was 12th, returned to California on Sunday and will race next year, trainer Bob Baffert said.
Catholic Boy, who finished 13th after a rough start that resulted in a gash to his left front ankle, will remain in training and run as a 4-year-old, trainer Jonathan Thomas said Sunday morning.
“I think he has a great chance of being a very, very good horse next year,” Thomas said.
Thomas said Catholic Boy would be vanned to Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Fla., for a freshening and likely would not race until the Belmont spring meet. Thomas said it is likely Catholic Boy would run on both turf and dirt next year. One race Thomas said he wants to make is the Grade 1 Whitney held at Saratoga, typically the first weekend in August.
West Coast, who was seventh, enters stud duty at Lane’s End in February and, like Accelerate, was due to be shown to prospective breeders this week. He was not scheduled to fly back to California, Baffert said. So, it seems likely an official announcement regarding his retirement is imminent.
West Coast, last year’s champion 3-year-old male, won six times in 13 starts, including the 2017 Travers Stakes. He was third in last year’s Classic and second earlier this year in the Pegasus World Cup, Dubai World Cup, and Awesome Again.
– additional reporting by David Grening
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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