William Buick pilots Line of Duty to victory in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill DownsWilliam Buick pilots Line of Duty to victory in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs (AFP Photo/ANDY LYONS)
Los Angeles (AFP) - Line of Duty charged late for a gritty victory in the Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs on Friday, giving trainer Charlie Appleby a remarkable third Breeders' Cup winner in five attempts.
Jockey William Buick piloted the Godolphin's Galileo colt to Europe's lone victory on the opening day of the $30 million racing extravaganza -- dubbed "Future Stars Friday" with its slate of five races for two-year-olds.
The day was a curtainraiser to Saturday's nine-race slate featuring the $4 million Turf and the $6 million Classic.
Buick brought his mount from the midst of the 16-horse field to relegate front runners Uncle Benny and Somelikeithotbrown to second and third.
Buick had to endure the suspense of a stewards' enquiry after contact between his mount and Uncle Benny right before the wire.
"The bump late on, I thought that was a case of that being a 50-50 situation," said Buick, who admitted he'd never been so tense on a racetrack as he waited to hear the decision."
Buick called it a mature performance from a young horse on the challenging conditions of a Churchill turf track softened by mid-week rain.
"He really jumped well and gathered his stride very quickly ... I was too close to the pace. So I had to just rein him back and restart the race. To be able to do that, he had to work harder."
There was some bumping and grinding for Game Winner on the way to victory in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Joel Rosario, Game Winner went wide on two turns before powering down the stretch, pulling away from Knicks Go after the two brushed briefly to win by 2 1/4 lengths.
"Talk about a rough trip," Baffert said.
With the victory in the $2 million race over 1 1/16 miles on the Churchill dirt track Game Winner immediately assumed the mantle of favorite for next year's Kentucky Derby.
"He likes Churchill Downs, that's a good sign," Baffert said of the colt that has won four of four starts.
Front-running youngsters had things their own way in the first three races of the day.
Newspaperofrecord, trained by Chad Brown, romped to victory in the $1 million, one-mile Juvenile Fillies Turf.
- 'Perfect trip' -
The 3-5 favorite, ridden by Irad Ortiz, leapt out of the gate and shot to the front. When Ortiz let her go late, the filly surged home to win by a devastating 6 3/4 lengths over European raider East, who rallied from last under Jamie Spencer to take second by a neck over longshot Stellar Agent.
"I got a perfect trip," said Ortiz. "She broke good and pulled me to the lead. I just held her together and she relaxed. When I asked her, she exploded for home."
Bulletin, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano, opened the proceedings with a dominant victory in the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Bulletin became the first horse to win a Breeders' Cup race after just one prior career start -- a seventh length victory at Gulfstream Park in September.
"Very impressed with what he did," said Castellano, who rode his ninth Breeders' Cup winner. "Second time of his career -- very professional."
Bulletin broke sharply out of the gate and took quick command of the 5 1/2-furlong race.
"Fantastic way to start," Pletcher said. "He broke really well and was sharp. He took it to them the whole way."
Chelsea Cloisters, trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione was second and the Aidan O'Brien-trained So Perfect was third.
Jaywalk became the day's third straight wire-to-wire winner, powering to a 5 1/2 length victory in the $2 million 1 1/16-mile Juvenile Fillies on the dirt track.
Trained by John Servis and ridden by Rosario, Jaywalk notched a first victory around two turns. Restless Rider was second and Vibrance third.