Game On Dude Choke Paves Way for Fort Larner in Breeders' Cup Classic
Everything was set for Game On Dude after last year's disappointment in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. With the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park where Game On Dude was undefeated in five races, the stage was set for his atonement.
He didn't. Game On Dude broke out slow from the gate and was in a bad position to try and make a late push through the final curve. Instead of charging to challenge Fort Larner and Mucho Macho Man, he was eased in the final furlong and wound up finishing seventh.
Instead it was Mucho Macho Man making the charge to try and catch up with Fort Larner who led throughout most of the race. Just when it looked like Mucho Macho Man would prevail in his final push, Fort Larner held off the charge to win by a half-length.
For Game on Dude's trainer Bob Baffert, this dropped him to 0-10 in Breeders' Cup Classic races, a particularly hard pill to swallow after coming in second in each of the Triple Crown races this year.
"It was the worst he's ever raced," Baffert told NBC after the race.
Fort Larned paid out $20.80 for the win finishing the 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.11. Flat Out and Ron the Greek rounded out the superfecta.
With this year's choke job by Game on Dude, that paved the way for Wise Dan to win the Horse of the Year honors. All Wise Dan did was set a track record in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile by running 1:31.78 on the turf course.
Also in the mix for the honors is Royal Delta, the winner of the $2 million Ladies' Classic for the second year in the row.
One of the more remarkable performances came in the $2 million Juvenile when Shanghai Bobby took the lead into the final turn. Just as they were coming down the final stretch, Shanghai Bobby with the clear lead looked like he was slowing down to a trot. Right as he saw He's Had Enough looking to pass him, jockey Rosie Napravnik got Shanghai Bobby to refocus and pull out for the win by a head.
One of the bigger surprises was Mizdirection winning the $1 million Turf Sprint. With a morning line of 20-1, she actually started drawing money being a 4-1 favorite at one point.
Mizdirection wound up with 6-1 odds and made a late rally to overtake the 9-2 favorite Unbridled's Note making his own charge. She became the 15th female to beat the boys in a Breeders' Cup race which made her principal owner Jim Rome numbly happy.
Rounding out the winners were George Vancouver in the $1 million Juvenile Turf, Groupie Doll in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint, Tapizar in the $1 million dirt mile in the biggest upset of the weekend, Little Mike in the $3 million Turf and Trinniberg in the $1.5 million Sprint.
The $25.5 million has been handed out, and Santa Anita will host one more day of racing for their Autumn Meet on Sunday. This Fan Appreciation Dollar Day will include $1 general admission, $1 general parking, $1 programs, 50-cent popcorn and 50-cent soda. There will also be a running of the Grade II Goldikova Stakes, formerly the Las Palma Stakes, a one-mile turf race.