“When I got to the backside, I tried to be in the clear, which is what he likes to do.”
The Classic triumph capped a successful Breeders’ Cup for Rosario, who also rode Game Winner and Jaywalk to victories on Friday in the Juvenile and the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Thunder Snow, who finished last here in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, came in third.
Off the board were the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s duo of West Coast and McKinzie. They were expected to challenge Accelerate, but they finished seventh and 12th.
Gunnevera, Thunder Snow and the early pacesetter Mendelssohn made things interesting in a wide-open field, an upside to the absence of Justiry, horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner. An ankle issue led Baffert to retire Justify in July.
Accelerate claimed his fourth race in a row and answered the question of if he could continue his roll after beating West Coast by two and a quarter lengths in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. And it followed other notable performances on the second day of the $30 million Breeders’ Cup championships.
Monomoy Girl, the reigning Kentucky Oaks winner, bolstered her case as the top 3-year-old filly by winning the $2 million Distaff. The expected duel between her and the 2017 Oaks winner, Abel Tasman, never materialized, as Monomoy Girl made her move at the final turn and held off Wow Cat by a length for her sixth victory this season.
Peter Miller made Breeders’ Cup history as the first trainer to saddle two repeat winners in the same races. Soon after Stormy Liberal outdueled the favorite World of Trouble to retake the Turf Sprint by a neck, 6-year-old Roy H swept past Promises Fulfilled and flew to a three-and-a-quarter-length win in the Sprint.
Enable followed last month’s Arc de Triomphe victory by winning the $4 million Turf by three-quarters of a length over Magical. Enable, a 4-year-old British filly, became the first horse to win both prestigious races in the same year. She earned her 10th win in 11 career starts.