Of all the horses racing in the 2012 Breeders' Cup World Championships, it was Fort Larned who put forth the most impressive effort of them all, crossing the finish line first in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
But the son of Mr. Prospector stallion E Dubai wasn't the only one to come through with flying colors in the biggest races at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Here's a look at the most impressive performances we saw in the biggest races on tap.
Four other horses had better odds of winning the Breeders' Cup Classic than Fort Larned at 11-1, but jockey Brian Hernandez rode his horse to perfection as he celebrated his 27th birthday: (h/t Examiner.com)
"Fort Larned just gave us the greatest birthday gift we could've ever had. He ran just a great race, he's one of the best and he showed it today."
He led the race from start to finish, not only holding off a late charge by Mucho Macho Man to take home the $5 million purse, but taking down a World Series champion as well in Joe Torre, part-owner of the Bob Baffert-trained Game On Dude, who was the heavy favorite at 3-2 odds heading into the race.
For Baffert and Torre, it was "later, dude" as the favorite finished a disappointing seventh.
Considering that she barely made it to the track, just getting out of New York before Hurricane Sandy hit, nobody would have been surprised had Royal Delta faltered in the Ladies' Classic on Friday night.
But the 2011 champion not only won the race, becoming the second horse to win it twice, but she did it in the complete opposite fashion to how she normally runs—leading the entire way.
My Miss Aurelia tried to keep it close, but Mike Smith became the most successful jockey in Breeders' Cup history, riding Royal Delta to a one-and-a-half-length victory and the $2 million purse.
Sitting with 12-1 odds entering the $3 million turf race, Little Mike wasn't a favorite to win the $2 million turf race, but he wasn't a long shot either.
He passed Point of Entry, the favorite who was unbeaten in five starts in 2012 as they made the final turn into the home stretch, winning by half a length.
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