Breeders' Cup Classic 2012 Winner: Victory Caps Huge Year for Fort Larned

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2012

ARCADIA, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. celebrates atop Fort Larned after winning the Breeders' Cup Classic Race during the 2012 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park on November 3, 2012 in Arcadia, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Fort Larned had one of the most impressive races of the season to win the 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic. 

The horse led the race from beginning to end and held off a late burst from Mucho Macho Man to earn the $5 million purse. Pre-race favorite Game On Dude was never in contention and finished in seventh place.

While Fort Larned was not favorite coming into the prestigious race, this competitor is no slouch. The 9.4 post-time odds were not indicative of the horse's abilities. 

In the previous eight races, the horse won four of them and only finished below fourth on one occasion. These were also not easy days at the track, with the fields being similar to the one selected for the Classic.

Over the course of the year, it has raced and defeated Mucho Macho Man, Flat Out and Ron the Greek.

This was also only the fifth race with jockey Brian Hernandez. Amazingly, he won four of them. This is the biggest race of the rider's young career and he did it on his 27th birthday. 

His share of $5 million is not too bad of a gift.

After the race, Hernandez showed his admiration for the horse that led him to victory (via USA Today):

He was really on his game. When he left the gate, he knew it was business time. Going into the second turn, what made him a winner, he was able to spurt way from that other horse.

Fort Larned, named after a fort in Kansas, ran the race of its life when it mattered the most. It held on strong and never tired throughout the 1.25-mile race.

However, this win was not a fluke. This is one of the best thoroughbred's in the world, and it proved it by winning on the biggest stage in the sport.