Breeders' Cup Classic 2012 Winner: Fort Larned Dominates America's Richest Race

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2012

November 3, 2012; Arcadia, CA, USA; Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard Fort Larned and Mike Smith aboard Mucho Macho Man lead during race twelve of the 2012 Breeders' Cup Championships at Santa Anita Park. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Jayne Kamin-Oncea

Fort Larned led the 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic from wire to wire, dominating every horse except for Mucho Macho Man down the stretch.

The winning horse wasn't the top favorite entering the race, but securing a victory didn't seem all that difficult. Watching the race, you wouldn't know that Game On Dude was expected to win.

Associated Press reporter Beth Harris tweeted the news following Fort Larned's victory:

Fort Larned at 9-1 wins Classic, capping weekend of huge upsets at #BC12. 7-5 fav Game On Dude was 7th.

— Beth Harris (@bethharrisap) November 4, 2012

The two days of racing certainly featured upsets, but anytime you beat a Bob Baffert horse, you're doing something right. Fort Larned's trainer Ian Wilkes was able to have his horse ready to go, and the competition suffered because of it.

For Baffert, it hurts the most. Despite his incredible achievements, the renowned trainer has never trained a Breeders' Cup Classic-winning horse. Game On Dude was able to hang in there until the backstretch, eventually falling back to seventh-place overall.

Mucho Macho Man was able to push Fort Larned down the stretch, but Mike Smith wasn't able to push him to victory. Smith has been in a ton of big-money races throughout his jockeying career, but this one escaped him.

Fort Larned won four of his eight starts this year coming into the race. The four-year-old colt won the Whitney Handicap race, marking his biggest win of the year to get him to Santa Anita Park this weekend.

According to New Orleans Times Picayune reporter Lenny Vangilder, Fort Larned made his owners $5 million by winning Saturday's race. Not only was it a huge achievement for jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., but it was a happy day for the entire team. Money like that never hurts.

Many people only tune in for horse racing's Triple Crown contests, but this year's Breeders' Cup was exciting. Watching a horse lead from tape to tape is rare, but Fort Larned barely left any doubt as to which horse was taking home this one.