Top Betting Choices for $5 Million Breeders' Cup Classic

Michael Dempsey@turfnsportFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 04:  The field breaks from the gate during the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic during the 2011 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on November 4, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park, the marquee race of the two-day championship event that features 14 races over two days with purses of $25 million. 

The Classic is the richest race run in North America and usually decides Horse of the Year honors, and the 30th running of the race likely will determine top honors again this year.

Leading up to the Breeders’ Cup, there were 67 “Win and You’re In” races where the winners of each race earned automatic starting berths in the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race.

Here are the top contenders for this year’s $5 million Classic race along with early betting odds provided by Bovada.


Game On Dude 2/1


Game On Dude is the early betting favorite for the Classic in wagering odds released by Bovada at 2-1. The gelding will be making his third attempt at winning the Classic. The Bob Baffert trainee was the runner-up in 2011, and last year was a disappointing seventh as the beaten favorite.

This year, the gelding is undefeated in five starts, last out a dominant winner of the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar on Aug. 25. The gelding drew away to win by eight-and-a-half lengths.

A victory in the Classic likely would wrap up Horse of the Year honors for the gelding.


Fort Larned 5/1


Fort Larned is the defending champion in the Classic, pulling off the upset last year and returning $20.80 for a $2 wager.

The Ian Wiles trainee has won two of his five starts this year, taking the Stephen Foster (G1) on June 15 and the Homecoming Classic On Sept. 28, both wins coming under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs.

The five-year-old has been inconsistent this year, twice disappointing at short odds. He was the beaten favorite in both the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in April where he was fifth, and in August, he was a disappointing fifth in the Whitney Handicap (G1) at Saratoga.


Will Take Charge 5/1


Will Take Charge was beaten by a combined 45 lengths in the Triple Crown races this spring, but has turned it around this summer and fall.

Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, the colt bounced back out of his drubbings in the Triple Crown with a solid runner-up finish in the Jim Dandy (G2), and then won the Travers (G1) at Saratoga and the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Parx Racing.

The colt is out of the Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady, who earned over $2.4 million in her stellar career. She has continued her success in the breeding shed. She also produced Take Charge Indy, who has earned $1.1 million and won the 2012 Florida Derby (G1).

The Classic will be Will Take Charge’s first try against older horses.


Mucho Macho Man 6/1


Mucho Macho Man was a game second in last year’s Classic behind the winner, Fort Larned, beaten by just a half-length for the top spot at odds of 6/1.

His 2013 campaign did not get off to a good start as he was pulled up in the Sunshine Millions Classic as the heavy favorite in January, and then suffered losses in the Criminal Type and the Whitney Handicap (G1) where he was third in both outings.

His first win of this year came in his last start where he was a sharp winner in the Awesome Again (G1) over the Santa Anita Park main track. He beat runner up Paynter by four-and-a-quarter lengths.

The five-year-old has some of his best running over the Santa Anita Park main track and should not be overlooked in the Classic.


Breeders’ Cup Classic Odds Provided by Bovada:

Game On Dude   2/1

Fort Larned    5/1

Will Take Charge   5/1

Mucho Macho Man   6/1

Flat Out   7/1

Palace Malice   8/1

Declaration Of War   10/1

Graydar    12/1

Paynter   12/1

Ron the Greek   12/1

Cigar Street   15/1

Kettle Corn   16/1

Successful Dan   20/1

Moreno   30/1

Hear The Ghost   40/1

Flashback   50/1

Clubhouse Ride   65/1

Out Of Bounds   80/1


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