After going 37 years without a Triple Crown, horse racing celebrated its second Triple Crown winner in just the last four years as Justify joined the ranks of 2015 champion American Pharoah when he captured the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Not only was 2018 the year of Justify, it’ll also be remembered for dozens of heart-stopping races, thrilling battles and longshot winners for the ages. We’re looking back on the year by counting down the top 15 races, one race a day, until the calendar turns to 2019.
*Note that our list of best races for 2018 only includes races run in North America.
#15: Stormy Liberal and Roy H Double Up at Breeders’ Cup
Our first selection for the best races of 2018 is a twofer recognizing a double-double. There were so many storylines woven into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and TwinSpires Sprint. Most notably, owners Rockingham Ranch and trainer Peter Miller pulled off the unlikely feat of not only winning the same Breeders’ Cup race with the same horse in back-to-back years, but also doing it with two horses in two Breeders’ Cup races.
The Turf Sprint saw up-and-coming jockey Drayden Van Dyke win his first Breeders’ Cup race aboard Stormy Liberal, who was able to edge past World of Trouble after a memorable stretch battle. In the TwinSpires Sprint, defending champion Roy H was overshadowed going into the race by Imperial Hint. Despite not going off as the favorite, Roy H ran like one and pulled away to win his second straight Sprint in dominant fashion.