Breeders' Cup 2013 Entries: Breaking Down Best Bets in Classic
Although it isn't a Triple Crown event, the Breeders' Cup Classic is arguably the biggest competition in horse racing. With $5 million on the line, the best horses, jockeys and trainers will converge on Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Fla., on Saturday for a chance to be called the best in the world.
There is a great mix in this year's Classic with plenty of veteran horses, as well as some newcomers. Unlike most races, it truly feels like each and every horse in this field has a chance to cross the finish line first
Here is a look at the Breeders' Cup Classic lineup, as well as analysis of some of the race's top contenders.
|1||Last Gunfighter||Javier Castellano||Chad Brown||20-1|
|2||Paynter||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||12-1|
|3||Planteur (IRE)||Ryan Moore||Marco Botti||20-1|
|4||Moreno||Joseph Talamo||Eric Guillot||15-1|
|5||Declaration of War||Joseph O'Brien||Aidan O'Brien||10-1|
|6||Mucho Macho Man||Gary Stevens||Katherine Ritvo||5-1|
|7||Fort Larned||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||Ian Wilkes||6-1|
|8||Palace Malice||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||10-1|
|9||Game On Dude||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||8-5|
|10||Will Take Charge||Luis Saez||D. Wayne Lukas||12-1|
|11||Ron the Greek||Jose Lezcano||William Mott||8-1|
|12||Flat Out||Joel Rosario||William Mott||12-1|
This is the first Breeders' Cup Classic for the three-year-old colt, but Palace Malice has plenty working in his favor. His biggest asset is unquestionably his success in big races, as he is coming off a win in the Belmont Stakes. Palace Malice was scintillating in that race with Mike Smith in the saddle, and while John Velazquez will be aboard on Saturday, that isn't a huge drop-off.
Since winning the Belmont, Palace Malice has won the Jim Dandy Stakes and recently finished second at the Jockey Club Gold Cup. The Breeders' Cup Classic will be Palace Malice's 10th race of the year, and while some might consider that to be a negative in terms of fatigue, it also means that he is prepared for any situation, according to Palace Malice's Twitter account:
With so many intriguing contenders worth keeping an eye on, Palace Malice makes for a great bet to win at 10-1. It will be interesting to see how much that line changes in the coming days, but it's hard not to like Palace Malice since the price is right. Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher have combined for 17 Breeders' Cup wins, and they have the horse needed to finally take the Classic.
Game On Dude
Game On Dude has been in this position before, as he entered last year's Breeders' Cup Classic as the prohibitive favorite. He disappointed to the tune of a seventh-place finish, but is once again considered the favorite at 8-5. This will be Game On Dude's third Breeders' Cup Classic entry after finishing second in 2011. Game On Dude has come close to winning several big races in his career, only to fall just short, but this could be his year.
Game On Dude seemingly has all the tools necessary to win, having gone undefeated in his past six starts, and has a dream team backing him. Mike Smith will be aboard the six-year-old gelding and Bob Baffert is his trainer. Smith has won the Breeders' Cup Classic three times already and has an ideal draw to work with, according to TVG:
The main concern when it comes to Game On Dude is his inability to finish in big races. While Game On Dude probably doesn't know the difference between the Breeders' Cup Classic and a run-of-the-mill race, it's tough to ignore the fact that he can't get it done on the big stage. It's now or never for Game On Dude and there is reason to believe that this is his time.
Mucho Macho Man
Mucho Macho Man will take his second crack at the Breeders' Cup Classic after finishing second to Fort Larned last year. That experience should serve him well. In addition to his narrow loss last year, Mucho Macho Man mustered a third-place finish in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, so he has proven time and time again that he is capable of hanging in there against top competition.
Which horse is most likely to win the 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic?
The five-year-old has a solid draw at No. 6 and he has a jockey who is as experienced as they come. Mucho Macho Man will be ridden by Gary Stevens, who scored a shocking win aboard Oxbow in the Preakness Stakes. While Stevens has won each leg of the Triple Crown, as well as multiple Breeders' Cup races, he has yet to triumph in the Classic.
The 50-year-old jockey has to know that he won't have many more opportunities like this to capture the one missing gem in his career. Mucho Macho Man is coming off a win in the Awesome Again Stakes where he outlasted fellow Classic participant Paynter. He enters Saturday's race in top form and definitely figures to be in the mix in the latter stages.
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