It's that time again: Horse racing is back.
It's hard to believe it's been almost six months since the last of the Triple Crown races marked an end to the crescendo of a horse-racing season that was one of the most exciting we've seen in years.
I'll Have Another emerged from obscurity to, against all odds, win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Just a day before the Belmont, America's new favorite horse suffered a tendon injury in his left front leg. Gone was his opportunity to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years. He missed the Belmont and he was sadly retired.
Despite the jubilation that accompanied the rise of I'll Have Another, the height of the 2012 horse racing season was simultaneously marred by scandal, and I'll Have Another's trainer was at the center of it. In May, Doug O'Neill was slapped with a 45-day suspension and a $15,000 fine after one of his horses tested positive for elevated levels of carbon dioxide.
Commonly, this comes as a result of "milkshaking," a Class 3 violation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
So here we are several months later, days before what is technically the culmination of the 2012 hose-racing season, hoping that some of the contenders who emerge atop the field of contenders at the Breeders' Cup will offer us a glimpse of the horses we should keep our eyes on another six months from now.
A total of 15 races will be run over the course of two days from Nov. 2-3, but the main event is the Breeders' Cup Classic, to be held on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Here's everything you need to know about Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic.
Where: Santa Anita Park, Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Saturday, Nov. 3
Post Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Distance: 1 1/4 miles
TV Schedule (via NBCSports.com)
|Nov. 2||Juvenile Sprint||4:06 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Marathon||4:48 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Juvenile Fillies Turf||5:28 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies||6:08 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Filly & Mare Turf||6:48 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Ladies' Classic||7:30 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Juvenile Turf||2:50 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Filly & Mare Sprint||3:35 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Dirt Mile||4:14 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Turf Sprint||4:57 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Grey Goose Juvenile||5:36 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Turf||6:18 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Xpressbet Sprint||6:58 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Mile||7:40 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Breeders' Cup Classic||8:30 p.m. ET||NBC|
You know that superstorm that's been assaulting the East Coast over the last few days? It's starting to wreak its havoc on the sports world, too, starting with the Breeders' Cup.
Who's your pick to win?
According to the Los Angeles Daily News' Larry Stewart, post times have already been determined, but when—or if—the horses will actually arrive in Los Angeles is still a point of concern. As of Monday, 13 horses still had yet to arrive on the West Coast, coming from New York and Kentucky, according to Stewart.
As a result, the Breeders' Cup has loosened up a little with regards to its arrival rules, according to the Associated Press' Mike Farrell.
Farrell reports that normally, horses are required to arrive 72 hours before the race, but due to air traffic delays caused by the storm, the late arrivals will still be allowed to compete.
The good news is, the show must—and will—go on, regardless of how long it takes the participants to touch down in L.A. The bad news is, we don't know how—if at all—the traveling chaos will impact the outcome.
What to Watch For:
- Last year's Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up, Game On Dude, is gunning for a win this time around in 2012. Trained by the legendary Bob Baffert, he returns to the field and will start from Post No. 5
- Mario Gutierrez—whom you may remember as the jockey who was plucked from obscurity last year when he rode I'll Have Another to victory at the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby—will ride Handsome Mike, who currently has 30-1 odds to win
Post Positions (via The Kansas City Star)
|1||Pool Play||Miguel Mena||30-1|
|2||Flat Out||Joel Rosario||5-1|
|4||Fort Larned||Brian Hernandez Jr.||5-1|
|5||Game On Dude||Rafael Bejarano||9-5|
|6||Brilliant Speed||Junior Alvarado||20-1|
|7||Handsome Mike||Mario Gutierrez||30-1|
|9||Richard's Kid||Garrett Gomez||12-1|
|10||Ron the Greek||Jose Lezcano||6-1|
|11||Mucho Macho Man||Mike Smith||8-1|
|12||To Honor and Serve||John Velazquez||8-1|
Prediction: Game On Dude Wins
Baffert may have struck out last year with the far-too-hyped Bodemeister, but he's still one of the best trainers around. Not only does his horse know how to run this track, it also has the stamina to finish the race strong. The second try will be the charm for Game On Dude.