Magician was denied a second major win in America as Hardest Core recorded a surprise success in the Arlington Million.
Given a positive ride by Joseph O'Brien in the Chicago showpiece, Breeders' Cup hero Magician was run down in the closing stages by the Eddie Graham-trained Hardest Core, who scored by a length under Erilius Vaz.
Once a possible for a jumping career, Graham said: "We jumped him a couple times, he's a pure, natural jumper, but we just messed with him, always (with) intentions of Flat racing because he was doing so well."
Explaining the gelding had come close to losing his life, Graham told www.bloodhorse.com: "He had a hernia up high and when they cut it, his intestines came out.
"We had to cut 15-18 feet (of his intestines), we didn't think he was going to make it. We finally got him up to New Bolton and two days later, he was in his feed tub again. He's tough."
Owner Gregory Bentley said: "It was a factor to enter here because it's all about believing for us in our team and - we thought if we can win any of the races, perhaps we can win the Million and then go on to the Breeders' Cup.
"Who doesn't want to think like that with a small-time horse owner?"
Ballydoyle had better luck earlier on the card as the Ryan Moore-ridden Adelaide claimed the Secretariat Stakes.
Second to Eagle Top at Royal Ascot, the Galileo colt led early in the straight and stayed on well despite edging to his right, beating Tourist by a length and a half.
Moore said: "The horse on the lead was getting a bit of a soft hand, so I didn't want to move up too early. Adelaide just had more class than the field and got the job done. He's run in France, Ireland, England, America, and America again."
On a great night for Moore, the former champion also struck on Marco Botti's Euro Charline in the Beverly D. Stakes, getting home by half a length from Frankie Dettori and favourite Stephanie's Kitten.