For the first time, the Breeders' Cup is headed to prime time. The $5 million Classic is able to benefit from the evening start because this year’s Breeders' Cup is being held at Santa Anita. After being run in the slop at Churchill Downs a year ago, the sunny weather of Southern California will be welcome this year. The post time forecast is for 77 degree temperatures and sunny.
The final race of the day will be on NBC after the NBC Sports Network has televised the rest of the two-day festival of racing.
The post time for the $5 million, one-and-a-quarter mile Classic is 8:30 p.m. ET. The race is open to horses three years old and up. The winner often goes on to capture the Eclipse award as the best horse of the year.
Pool Play drew the rail. The seven-year-old arrives in Santa Anita coming into his own late in his racing career. After missing more than a year, Pool Play has done well in his return. He has had a good fall in Chicago. Pool Play finished third in the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park in September and followed that up with a win in the Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup in October.
Flat Out entered the 2011 Classic as the fourth morning-line favorite and finished fifth. He enters the race a the second morning line favorite this year. He has a win, place and a show in five starts in 2012. Like Pool Play, Flat Out matured late after putting injuries behind him earlier in his career. All three of his money finishes came after a poor start to 2012.
He comes to Santa Anita having won his last race, at the TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup in September.
Other than a disappointing 12th at the Kentucky Derby, Alpha has had an outstanding 2012. He has four wins and a place in seven starts this year with over $1 million in earnings.
In his three Grade I races this year, Alpha has won once, and in five career Grade I starts, Alpha has placed second or better three times.
Fort Larned shares the second-favorite position with Flat Out. With just under $900,000 in earnings in 2012, Fort Larned has four wins, a place and a show in eights starts this year. In three Grade I races, Fort Larned has a win and a show. He defeated Ron the Greek and Flat Out in the Whitney Handicap in August, then finished behind Flat Out and Stay Thirsty at the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Game on Dude is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. His $2.9 million in career earnings is the most of the Classic entrants. In six starts in 2012, Game on Dude has four wins and one place. In his four Grade I starts this year, he has won twice and placed once. He has $860,000 in earnings in 2012.
In six starts in 2012, Brilliant Speed has just three shows. Two of those places came in Grade I stakes. Brilliant Speed has run in four Grade I stakes in 2012. He has just $155,000 in earnings in 2012, but had over $1 million in 2011.
Handsome Mike comes to Santa Anita with $706,000, one win and a place in six 2012 starts. He finished out of the money in his only Grade I start at the Secretariat in August. However, he did win his last start in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby in September.
Nonios has three wins, three places and a show in 2012. His last three races this year have been Grade I. His most recent finish was second place at the Grade I Awesome Again on Sept. 29.
Richard’s Kid has two wins, a place and two shows in 2012. Three of those appearances have been Grade I races. He has finished behind Game on Dude three times this year and behind Nonios once.
At 6-1, Ron the Greek is the fourth morning-line favorite. He has over $1 million in earnings in 2012 and has two wins and three places in six starts this year. Three of those have been Grade I races. He won the Stephen Foster Handicap in June and finished second in the Whitney to Flat Out.
With over $800,000 in earnings in 2012, Mucho Macho Man comes to Santa Anita with three wins, a place and a show in 2012. He is the only horse in the Classic field to have been in the money in all of his races in 2012.
The Woodward was the only Grade I race that 3M entered this year. He placed behind To Honor and Serve. He has finished in the money in 14 of 17 career starts, with $1.4 million in career earnings.
To Honor and Serve will be the last horse into the starting gates in the 12th post. He has five career starts in 2012 with two wins and a place. He has $652,000 in earnings in 2012. In two Grade I races this season, his win over Mucho Macho man in the Woodward was his only finish in the money.