Line of Duty survived a tense steward investigation to begin the European challenge with a dramatic final win at the Juvenile Turf on Friday night at Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
It was an eighth Breeders Cup win for owner Godolphin, a second for jockey William Buick and a notable third winner of just five runners for coach Charlie Appleby.
Appleby won the 2013 Juvenile Turf Outstrip and led its 2018 derby winner Masar in last year's Juvenile Turf. He had an unfortunate run and was not placed. But a trip to Epsom over the 2,000 Guineas, just like Masar, is likely to look in future tests for Line of Duty, which Coral received 16: 1 quotes for both classics.
William Buick's mount looked beaten on a stage, but bravely struck to defeat Uncle Benny
Appleby, who has a great chance to extend his record in the Breeders Cup on Saturday with the addition of Wildly Illusion by Filly & Mares Turf, said: "I am very happy and bring only the right horses here. They do not travel all that and come here for fun.
After this horse won the (Prix de Conde) in Chantilly, I talked to William and we both believed that he had the right profile to come here. He is a decent horse and seems to enjoy being squeezed and getting into battle. These qualities have come to the fore today. "
Stewards looked at two incidents in the final stretch, including when Line Of Duty left in the last 100 meters and concluded a short contract with runner-up Uncle Benny.
Line of Duty scored a dramatic final win in the Juvenile Turf on Friday night
But Buick said, "When he got faster, he went to bed. He was very strong on the line. It was a very mature performance of a young horse. I thought the worry was a 50-50 situation at a later stage and so late in the race that it made no difference to the outcome. "
The victory of Line of Duty this year was a 28th group victory for Godolphin. It was also significant that Line of Duty was bought by Coolmore's father Galileo and one of its first yearlings last fall after the Sheik Mohammed organization ended its boycott of Coolmore stallions.
With fourth place by Tom Dascombe Arthur Kitt, the Juvenile Turf was the highlight of the first day of the 35th Breeders Cup for the Europeans.
The best of the European runners in the opening race of the Juvenile Turf Sprint, won by Todd Pletcher's Bulletin, was Aidan O's Briens So Perfect in third place, while Kevin Ryan's East drew a Stormer out of a poor draw against the newspaper's six-and-one record three-quarter length brought winner of the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The record newspaper dominated their run under jockey Irad Ortiz and later coach Chad Brown said he would consider a serious decline in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot next year.
Brown said, "This is a horse that has done everything we asked and made it very easy. We have a good sense of how good she is and it will be interesting to see her facing a challenge. This is inevitable and she will struggle with adversity for some time, but to this day I do not think she was challenged.
"For me, when she crossed the wire, she has a ridiculous amount of horse left.
"Everyone will ask about coronation posts in Ascot. I had some really good foals before Lady Eli and Rushing Fall, but I did not feel it was right for these nasties (to go to the royal meeting).
"This foal is unique. She has a good speed from the gate and handles soft ground. The weather will not be a problem. The (Royal Ascot) I will consider more next year than ever before. "