The 2012 Breeders' Cup Championships begin today at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. They continue on through Saturday, in what is the biggest and most popular horse racing event of the year, save the Triple Crown races in the early summer months.
If you're planning to watch any of the races this weekend, there are a number of horses you should know. Here are some of them:
Bridgetown is a slight favorite in this race. His odds came in right around 9-2. Beginning in the 9th post doesn't hurt.
The Turf Sprint is often the most popular race at Santa Anita, making the Todd Pletcher trainee a horse you absolutely must know, and know well. He won October 6 by one length over Great Mills at the Woodford Stakes.
Eldaafer is making his fourth appearance in the Breeders' Cup Marathon this year. He has won once previously, in 2010. He is trained by Bob Baffert, which is reason enough to give Eldaafer a strong name.
Leaving from the 10th spot in the race, Eldaafer figures to be one of the favorites despite coming in at 8-1 odds.
Shackleford is the presumptive favorite in the Dirt Mile race. With 2-1 odds, it's almost impossible to think anyone else could win the race. Shackleford will be leaving from the 6th post, jockeyed by Ramon Dominguez.
This horse has won five of 18 races entered in, including the Preakness Stakes in 2011.
Ridden by Pat Valenzuela, Merit Man is an 8-5 favorite over the field in the Juvenile Sprint division. Bob Hess' trainee has won two starts—a maiden race and the Tim Conway Stakes.
Game on Dude
Game On Dude is the favorite in the finale Classic race. He's a classic five-year old horse who is a 9-5 favorite in the race. He's the horse of the year front-runner and a win would all but cement that status.
Mucho Macho Man
Though Game On Dude is the favorite in this race, many are predicting that Mucho Macho Man will come out of this race victorious. Kathy Ritvo's trainee has been recording fabulous training times, and with 8-1 odds is almost a must-take horse.