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 US$30 million racing extravaganza -- dubbed "Future Stars Friday" with its slate of five races for two-year-olds.
The day was a curtain raiser to Saturday's nine-race slate featuring the US$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.