An overflow cast of 15 will converge in the biggest prize of Breeders' Cup weekend in the $6 million Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Three of the contenders earned an automatic berth into the Classic field with “Win & You're In” Breeders' Cup Challenge series tallies – Pavel (Stephen Foster), Accelerate (Pacific Classic/Awesome Again) and Discreet Lover (Jockey Club Gold Cup)

Leading handicap runner Accelerate is the favorite, but he has an ambitious assignment in front of him after drawing the 14 post in an accomplished field.

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2018 BREEDERS' CUP CLASSIC FIELD

THUNDER SNOW

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Thunder Snow Career Racing Stats

20 Starts
7 Wins
6 Place
2 Show
Total Career Earnings: $8,531,118

Top BRIS Speed rating (106) earned in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1)

Owner: Godolphin LLC
Breeder: Darley
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor
Jockey: Christophe Soumillon

Sire: Helmet
Dam: Eastern Joy
Color: Bay

Reigning Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) victor comes into the Classic off a neck second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park. The four-year-old colt has been a winner or runner-up in seven-of-eight dirt races to date. The Irish-bred will break from the rail under world-class pilot Christophe Soumillon.

ROARING LION

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Roaring Lion Career Racing Stats

12 Starts
8 Wins
1 Place
2 Show
Total Career Earnings: $3,576,038

Owner: Qatar Racing Limited
Breeder: RanJan Racing
Trainer: John Gosden
Jockey: Oisin Murphy

Sire: Kitten's Joy
Dam: Vionnet
Color: Gray/Roan

The classy sophomore rides in on a four-race win streak, all of which came on the turf at the Group-1 level. The Kentucky-bred colt will be making his first run on both dirt and in the United Stakes, but has made quite an impression since arriving stateside. The gray has a measure of early presence and is proven at the 10-furlong distance. Regular rider Oisin Murphy makes trek to guide the star.

CATHOLIC BOY

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Catholic Boy Career Racing Stats

9 Starts
6 Wins
1 Place
0 Show
Total Career Earnings: $1,842,000

Top BRIS Speed rating (108) earned in the Travers Stakes (G1)

Owner: Robert LaPenta, et al
Breeder: John Fielding and Fred Hertrich III
Trainer: Jonathan Thomas
Jockey: Javier Castellano

Sire: More Than Ready
Dam: Song of Bernadette
Color: Bay

This classy and versatile three-year-old is a Grade 1 victor on both turf and dirt in his last pair of assignments. The ridgling is training in good fashion on the Churchill Downs strip and will add more pace to a field with a lot of early foot. The bay is also unbeaten from two runs at 1 1/4 miles in preparation of the Classic.

GUNNEVARA

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Gunnevara Career Racing Stats

18 Starts
6 Wins
4 Place
2 Show
Total Career Earnings: $3,091,800

Top BRIS Speed rating (109) earned in 2017 Travers Stakes (G1)

Owner: Margoth
Breeder: Brandywine Farm and Stephen Upchurch
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Sire: Dialed In
Dam: Unbridled Rage
Color: Chestnut

This one-run closer rallied from well back to register a second-place finish in the Woodward Stakes (G1) in his preparation for this lucrative event. The Florida-bred colt finished fifth in the 2017 Classic and could capitalize on the expected fast and contested tempo in this edition. Gunnevara gets a boost while acquiring top pilot Irad Ortiz Jr. for the initial time.

LONE SAILOR

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Lone Sailor Career Racing Stats

14 Starts
2 Wins
5 Place
2 Show
Total Career Earnings: $873,237

Top BRIS Speed rating (100) earned in Ohio Derby (G3) and Louisiana Derby (G2)

Owner: G M B Racing
Breeder: Alexander-Groves-Matz
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: James Graham

Sire: Majestic Warrior
Dam: Ambitious
Color: Bay

This longshot in the field is not proven at the Grade 1 level of yet but enters with a game win in the Oklahoma Derby (G3). The consistent sophomore finished eighth on this surface in the Kentucky Derby (G1) in the spring, and he would need a lifetime-best effort to make the frame in this deep Classic.

MCKINZIE

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McKinzie Career Racing Stats

5 Starts
4 Wins
1 Place
0 Show
Total Career Earnings: $906,000

Top BRIS Speed rating (112) earned in Pennsylvania Derby (G1)

Owner: Karl Watson, Paut Weitman, Michael Pegram
Breeder: Summer Wind Farm
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith

Sire: Street Sense
Dam: Runway Model
Color: Bay

The ultra-talented sophomore is one of three for trainer Bob Baffert trying for Classic glory. The colt has never finished worse than second and was a stylish winner at Parx Racing last out off a six-month layoff. The lightly raced colt has been training in swift fashion and will have four-time Classic winner Mike Smith on his back.

WEST COAST

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West Coast Career Racing Stats

12 Starts
6 Wins
5 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $5,743,800

Top BRIS Speed rating (116) earned in Pegasus World Cup (G1)

Owner: Gary and Mary West
Breeder: CFP Thoroughbreds LLC
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: John Velazquez

Sire: Flatter
Dam: Caressing
Color: Bay

The champion colt was third in the 2017 Classic and aims to go two better this season. The high-class Bob Baffert trainee has been second in each of his races this year – Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1), Pegasus World Cup (G1) and Awesome Again Stakes (G1). The four-year-old gets a coup with John Velazquez inheriting the mount. West Coast is an obvious contender.

PAVEL

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Pavel Career Racing Stats

11 Starts
3 Wins
1 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $1,375,000

Top BRIS Speed rating (108) earned in 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1)

Owner: Reddam Racing LLC
Breeder: Brereton Jones and WinStar Farm
Trainer: Doug O'Neill
Jockey: Mario Gutierrez

Sire: Creative Cause
Dam: Mons Venus
Color: Gray/Roan

The Stephen Foster (G1) victor obviously likes the Churchill Downs surface, which could go a long way in the Classic. The two-time graded winner lacks consistency but can he be a major factor with a top performance. The gray comes in fresh with a nice string of morning drills.

MENDELSSOHN

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Mendelssohn Career Racing Stats

11 Starts
4 Wins
2 Place
2 Show
Total Career Earnings: $2,317,092

Top BRIS Speed rating (104) earned in Travers S. (G1)

Owner: Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith
Breeder: Clarkland Farm
Trainer: Aidan O'Brien
Jockey: Ryan Moore

Sire: Scat Daddy
Dam: Leslie's Lady
Color: Bay

The 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) star proved his affinity for the dirt when annihilating his foes by 18 lengths in the UAE Derby (Uae-G2) in the spring. The half-brother to the sublime Beholder has posted a pair of nice runs at 1 1/4 miles in advance of the Classic. Ryan Moore will be sending the three-year-old from the break.

YOSHIDA

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Yoshida Career Racing Stats

11 Starts
5 Wins
3 Place
0 Show
Total Career Earnings: $1,289,648

Top BRIS Speed rating (101) earned in Woodward Stakes (G1)

Owner: WinStar Farm, et al
Breeder: Northern Farm
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Sire: Heart's Cry
Dam: Hilda's Passion
Color: Bay

The Japanese-bred took the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard, and showed his versatility with a fine score in the Woodward Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on the dirt. The four-year-old colt has a lot of class and might be closing best of all inside the final furlong in this one. Jose Ortiz picks up the mount and has previous experience on the bay.

MIND YOUR BISCUITS

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Mind Your Biscuits Career Racing Stats

24 Starts
8 Wins
10 Place
3 Show
Total Career Earnings: $4,279,556

Top BRIS Speed rating (109) earned in Lukas Classic Stakes (G3)

Owner: Shadai Farm, et al
Breeder: Jumping Jack Racing LLC
Trainer: Chad Summers
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Sire: Posse
Dam: Jazzmane
Color: Chestnut

The two-time Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) winner at six furlongs will attempt to accomplish a remarkable feat in winning at 1 1/4 miles in this spot. The five-year-old looked great in a first run at Churchill Downs when dominating the Lukas Classic (G3) most recently, earning his best BRIS Speed figure in the process. The New York-bred will be rallying from off the pace in a second local appearance.

AXELROD

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Axelrod Career Racing Stats

10 Starts
4 Wins
2 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $732,925

Top BRIS Speed rating (110) earned in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1)

Owner: Slam Dunk Racing, et al
Breeder: Hidden Point Farm Inc.
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Jockey: Joe Bravo

Sire: Warrior's Reward
Dam: Volatile Vickie
Color: Bay

This rapidly improving three-year-old is a two-time Grade 3 who has found his best stride. The Pennsylvania Derby (G1) runner-up has a potent turn of foot and he will likely appreciate the abundance of early runners in the Classic field.

DISCREET LOVER

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Discreet Lover Career Racing Stats

44 Starts
7 Wins
7 Place
7 Show
Total Career Earnings: $1,374,685

Top BRIS Speed rating (108) earned in 2017 Swatara Stakes

Owner: Uriah St. Lewis
Breeder: Woodford Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Uriah St. Lewis
Jockey: Manuel Franco

Sire: Repent
Dam: Discreet Chat
Color: Bay

The hard-trying five-year-old finally broke through with a deserved Grade 1 win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) last out. The Florida-bred has picked up numerous minor awards in major races and he topped a very nice field at Belmont Park, including a pair in this field. Discreet Lover will be making one run in the stretch.

ACCELERATE

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Accelerate Career Racing Stats

21 Starts
9 Wins
5 Place
5 Show
Total Career Earnings: $2,492,480

Top BRIS Speed rating (114) earned in Pacific Classic (G1)

Owner: Hronis Racing LLC
Breeder: Mike Abraham
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario

Sire: Lookin at Lucky
Dam: Issues
Color: Chestnut

The morning-line choice is a neck shy from being unbeaten in six starts in 2018. The peaking five-year-old has made easy work of his California competition and will make a first try beneath the Twin Spires. The Kentucky-bred received a brutal post draw but remains the one to beat under Joel Rosario.

COLLECTED (Also-eligible)

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Collected Career Racing Stats

15 Starts
8 Wins
2 Place
1 Show
Total Career Earnings: $2,975,500

Top BRIS Speed rating (111) earned in 2017 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and Precisionist Stakes (G3)

Owner: Speedway Stable LLC
Breeder: Runnymede Farm and Peter J. Callahan
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Joe Talamo

Sire: City Zip
Dam: Helena Bay
Color: Chestnut

The 2017 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) runner-up is on the also-eligible list for trainer Bob Baffert. The five-year-old has just one race under his belt since the winter and it was an unplaced run at Parx Racing. The chestnut gets blinkers added and has reportedly been training very well since. He is awaiting a defection from the field to get in.