Eldaafer outlasted the opposition and earned a ticket to the Breeders' Cup Marathon when proving best as the favorite Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship in Florence, Ky.
With Jon Court aboard, Eldaafer won by a half-length over Falling Knife in the 1 1/2-mile Fall Championship, the only stakes of the 16-day fall meet at Turfway. Always in the hunt in what was a well-packed group of nine older horses through the early going, Eldaafer finished in 2:32.55 over the Polytrack surface. He returned $6.60 to win.
The Fall Championship carries a Win and You're In provision toward the $500,000 BC Marathon, which will be run at 1 3/4 miles on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. Diane Alvarado was on hand from New York to saddle Eldaafer, a 5-year-old gelding by A.P. Indy, for the Alghuwayriyah Stable of Mansour Albaroudy.
Smarten Destiny led early, with 16-1 shot Falling Knife tracking him closely. Approaching the half-mile pole, several horses made their moves, with Eldaafer among them. Down the stretch, with Court giving a vigorous ride, Eldaafer pulled clear, then held sway for his biggest victory since he won the 2009 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park.
Atoned finished third, a neck behind Falling Knife, with Sligovitz another 2 3/4 lengths back in fourth.
Coolcullen Times scratched early in favor of running in the Kentucky Cup Turf.
Turfway runs through Oct. 3, with the Keeneland fall meet starting Oct. 8.