ARCADIA, California (Reuters) - Classic Empire held off a late charge from favorite Not This Time to win the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by a neck on Saturday. Starting at 9-2, a slight underdog to Not This Time’s 5-2 odds, Classic Empire took command at around the halfway point by passing early leader Syndergaard.

With Julien Leparoux in the saddle, Classic Empire staved off fast-finishing Not This Time, with Practical Joke a distant third.

It was the fourth win in five lifetime starts for Classic Empire, who has stamped himself as a Kentucky Derby favorite for next year.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner; Editing by Andrew Both)