Rosario worked for it, all right. He noted that Accelerate, for all of his success, can be a challenging mount.
“He is the kind of horse you’ve got to ride him the whole way,” he said.
Even when Accelerate made the lead, it was not over. “He waited a little bit on horses,” Rosario said.
In the end, though, Accelerate earned his fifth Grade 1 triumph of the season, tacking the Classic onto previous successes in the Santa Anita Handicap, the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, the TVG Pacific Classic and the Awesome Again Stakes.
Accelerate’s body of work – and the exclamation point he attached to the end of it – may stir Horse of the Year debate even in a season in which undefeated Justify swept the Triple Crown before he was retired at the end of July due to inflammation in one of his ankles.