LOUISVILLE, KY – It wasn’t the easiest or cleanest victory you’ll ever see, but Godolphin’s Line of Duty overcame a lengthy inquiry and objection to win Friday’s Grade 1, $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from post 5 under William Buick at odds of 7/2, Line of Duty sat comfortably close in mid-pack while Somelikeithotbrown posted opening fractions of :24.40, :48.46, and 1:13.60. Advancing off of the far turn, Buick tipped him out wide and set him down for the stretch drive. Meanwhile, Somelikeithotbrown was met with a challenge in mid-stretch from Uncle Benny, but when that foe began angling in, Somelikeithotbrown veered out slightly and appeared to spook Uncle Benny, who then broke outward by a handful of lanes. Meanwhile, Line of Duty was closing strongly while running in the middle of the track when Buick began angling him inward, and he soon bumped with a still-carrying Uncle Benny. Bouncing off of him but continuing to run on well, Line of Duty inched away in the shadow of the wire to win by a 1/2-length in a final time of 1:40.06 for the mile-long event over the good turf surface.
Following the finish, Uncle Benny’s rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., lodged an objection alleging interference, but after several minutes, the stewards ruled that there would be no change to the original order of finish.
“Obviously, I am relieved that we have kept the race,” Buick said. “He has put up a great performance to go on and win.”
Though disappointed with getting caught at the wire, Uncle Benny’s trainer Jason Servis acquiesced the decision.
“It looked like (Line of Duty) banged him pretty good,” he said. “I got beat a neck, but my dad was a steward for 40 years, and you’ve got to respect their opinions.”
Though he fought valiantly, Somelikeithotbrown was unable to keep pace and missed second by a neck. Arthur Kitt took fourth over War of Will, while Forty Under faded in the stretch to finish sixth after pressing the early pace. Current headed The Black Album for seventh, with the 3/1 favorite Anthony Van Dyck another head back in ninth. Opry, Marie’s Diamond, King of Speed, Henley’s Joy, and Much Better completed the order of finish.
Order and Law and Tracksmith were scratched as Also Eligibles.
Line of Duty’s win was his third straight, including a Group 3 win at Chantilly last out, and improved his overall record to 5-3-2-0. The Irish-bred son of Galileo has now earned $621,769 in his young career.
“It’s lovely to be here,” trainer Charlie Appleby said. “William gave him a great ride. He managed to get him wide and come with a clear run. It’s great for the team and especially Sheikh Mohammad (who operates Godolphin).”
Line of Duty returned $9 to win, $5.20 to place, and $4.20 to show. Uncle Benny brought back $8 to place and $5.80 to show, while Somelikeithotbrown paid $8.20 to show.