The Breeders' Cup is upon us and while there are 14 races set for this weekend, the race that truly deserves the fans' attention is the Breeders' Cup Classic. The Classic closes out the two-day event and acts as the main event of sorts, pitting some of the biggest names in horse racing against each other in a one-and-a-quarter mile battle on a dirt track.
The prize? Besides the incredible amount of glory and pride, $5 million.
So, how do those big names in a Classic race jam-packed with contenders stack up? Here are the post positions for the Breeders' Cup Classic:
|1||Last Gunfighter||Javier Castellano||Chad Brown||20-1|
|2||Paynter||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||12-1|
|3||Planteur||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||Kathy 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|
Here are a few names that stand out above the rest in an impressive field of both jockeys and horses.
Game On Dude
Game on Dude is one of the early favorites in the Classic and for good reason. Game On Dude has a lot going for him, as he's currently riding a six-race winning streak since a disappointing seventh-place finish at last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, and he's looked extremely impressive in each of them.
Game On Dude is obviously a talented horse, with 15 first-place finishes in 27 starts, but a horse is only as good as his jockey, and his jockey is good. Real good. Mike Smith will be at the helm on Saturday as he looks to give trainer Bob Baffert his first first-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Smith's most recent major success came when he rode Palace Malice to victory at the Belmont Stakes. After that big win, Smith decided to switch to Game On Dude for the Breeders' Cup, meaning the talented jockey must see some serious potential in this horse to hop off Palace Malice.
BREEDERS' CUP Current win streaks 6-Game on Dude 4-Testa Rossi (FR) 4-Princess of Sylmar 4-Laughing (IRE) Best 19-Zenyatta, 2010— Racing Stats & Info (@GaryDougherty) October 31, 2013
Game On Dude isn't just bringing the longest winning streak to the Breeders' Cup. He's also bringing in a Hall of Fame trainer in Bob Baffert and an experienced jockey in Mike Smith. Game On Dude certainly has a lot going for him heading into Saturday.
But that's just like, my opinion man.
Mucho Macho Man
Mucho Macho Man is one of the big names in this year's Classic field for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is his jockey, Gary Stevens—the very same Gary Stevens that captured an unlikely victory at the Preakness on the back of Oxbow, one of the biggest long shots in history.
Stevens also has nine first-place finishes at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes combined and has eight first-place finishes in various Breeders' Cup races along with a second-place finish at the Classic on the back of Silver Charm in 1998.
Mucho Macho Man has a great jockey, but he has more than that at the Breeders' Cup. He also has a story well-deserving of a Disney movie. Mucho Macho Man's trainer Katherine Ritvo underwent a heart transplant in 2010 after coming close to death. She made a glorious comeback to continue training Mucho Macho Man, who, with Ritvo, has taken home seven first-place victories in his career.
To add to the myth and majesty surrounding Mucho Macho Man and his crew, Dream Team Racing reminds us that wearing the No. 6 is a great thing for Mr. Mucho Macho on Saturday.
MUCHO MACHO MAN likes #6 :) The big boy is wearing his favorite number - He is 3 for 3 in his racing career when... http://t.co/wtD8mj1kPA— Dream Team Racing (@DreamTeamRacing) October 29, 2013
Fort Larned is a name to know in this year's Classic field for one obvious reason; he's the defending champ. Larned took home the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2012 by a half-length in a race that really showed off Larned's skill, after building an early lead and fighting off the field the rest of the way to take the race.
Larned, like many horses in this year's field, has lineage on his side as well. Larned's grandmother, Bayakoa, was a two-time champion in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.
Brian Hernandez Jr, Fort Larned's jockey, also adds a little to the race as he pilots Larned at the Breeders' Classic for the second year in a row, coming off the aforementioned close victory last year. Hernandez Jr. also brings over 1,100 first-place finishes to the table.
It also doesn't hurt that Larned is 1-for-1 at Santa Anita, the site of the Breeders' Cup Classic.