LOUISVILLE, KY – Juddmonte Farms’ homebred colt Expert Eye waited until the last possible moment before commencing a strong stretch rally and getting up just in time to win Saturday’s Grade 1, $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.
Breaking without incident from post 7 under Frankie Dettori at 5/1 odds, Expert Eye settled in mid-pack early while Analyze It posted opening fractions of :24.68, :49.85, and 1:15.00. Within striking range as he exited the far turn, Expert Eye struggled at first to find his footing in the stretch, but once he did, the Sir Michael Stoute trainee took off and joined the mad scramble for the front before surpassing the new leader Catapult in the shadow of the wire. Expert Eye crossed with a 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 1:39.80 for the mile-long event over the good turf course.
“I’m thrilled with the win,” Dettori said. “Michael deserves the credit for the training of the horse. He finished his race off so strongly.”
Hard-luck loser Catapult ran too good to lose but was relegated to second in a blanket finish over Analyze It (by a neck), Divisidero (by a nose), and One Master (by a head). Further back, Clemmie headed Lightning Spear for sixth, while Happily nosed out Gustav Klimt and Almanaar for eighth. Mustashry, I Can Fly, and Next Shares came next, while the 5/2 favorite Oscar Performance blew the start and never recovered while completing the order of finish.
Hunt originally drew into the event but didn’t ship from California after spiking a fever earlier in the week. Clemmie didn’t draw in after being named an Also Eligible.
Expert Eye’s win came in his stateside debut and was his third overall in 2018. The 3-year-old son of Acclamation now carries a record of 10-5-2-1 with earnings of $1,827,455.
“He’s run a great race,” Stoute said. “I’d like to thank James Savage, who rides him out every day. He’s done a great job with him. I thought down the back straight that Frankie may have just had him two slots behind, but he was in control. We love coming to the Breeders’ Cup. It’s always great coming here.”
Expert Eye returned $13.80 to win, $7 to place, and $4.60 to show. Catapult brought back $7.20 to place and $4.60 to show, while Analyze It paid $4.60 to show.