The 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic provided a thrilling finish, an exciting victory for Fort Larned and more disappointment for Bob Baffert.
Fort Larned shot out of the gate and took command of the race early. After the final turn, Ian Wilkes’ horse separated itself from the field, with only Mucho Macho Man remaining in contention.
The two thoroughbreds stayed neck and neck to give the spectators at historic Santa Anita Park a reason to get up and cheer during the marquee event at a weekend full of racing.
This last race did not disappoint, and Fort Larned won the lion’s share of the massive $5 million purse by an extremely narrow margin. Brian Hernandez Jr. was the winning jockey, and he will certainly have fond memories of Southern California as the victory came on his 27th birthday, as noted by USA Today.
While Wilkes and Hernandez celebrated, Baffert once again retreated into the shadows. After narrowly missing out on the winner’s circle in all three Triple Crown races, his horse, Game on Dude, finished seventh, despite being the post-time favorite.
Flat Out and Ron the Greek—both among the best bets in the field—took third and fourth respectively. These two horses are both trained by Bill Mott, and he enjoyed a fine day, despite missing out on the top spot.
While this was not a jaw-dropping upset, it was certainly a surprising and impressive result for Fort Larned. The exciting finish was a fitting end to the weekend's event, and horse racing fans can only hope next year's race will have just as much drama.