This year the Breeders Cup will be hosted at Churchill Downs – a course which has presented the Cup on eight previous occasions. On just one occasion did the favorite win the Classic, with Alysheba coming out on top, way back in 1988. Accelerate will hope to become the second for John Sadler, but Britain’s Roaring Lion will definitely make a race of it, despite it being his first start on the dirt.
Over the past 10 runnings of the festival, each of the Classic winners had achieved Grade 1 success prior to winning this big prize. Every Classic winner to date has either been 3, 4 or 5 years in age – with nine of the last fourteen being aged 4 or 5. Winning a Grade/Group 1 race on both dirt and turf is a fine accomplishment that is not attained by many race horses. The class and versatility needed to pull off the feat is a rare trait, and three contenders for the 2018 Classic arrive having completed that feat - Yoshida, Thunder Snow and Catholic Boy.
Other common traits feature 11 of the 14 winners arriving at the Breeders Cup meeting with at least five winners to their name, and 13 of the last 14 had raced in the previous eight weeks – so clearly preparation is key, and there are no flukes involved. 13 of the last 14 winners were also trained in the US – proving their authority on the dirt.