The anticipation for the 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic G1 race from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. has horse racing fans at a fever pitch.
Saturday’s main event is one of the biggest events on the sport’s calendar each year.
Here is all the vital information every horse racing enthusiast needs to follow the action and some of the top storylines to watch in the biggest race of the weekend.
When: Friday, Nov. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 2
Where: Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
Watch: NBC (Breeders' Cup Classic) and NBC Sports Network (all other races)
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
|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|
*Odds via Bovada.lv
*Ron The Greek scratched from Breeders' Cup Classic, via Bill Dwyre and Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times.
Biggest Contender: Game On Dude
The unquestioned favorite for Saturday’s race is Game On Dude. At 8-5 odds, the Bob Baffert-trained horse will have veteran jockey Mike Smith on his back for this run and will look to steal the show with a huge win.
Game on Dude has amassed six straight victories heading into the Classic race at Santa Anita Park (including three G1 races), and that momentum will carry over into Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup finale.
After finishing seventh in the 2012 edition of this race, the entire Game On Dude team will be looking for redemption in the form of another monumental victory. A Breeders’ Cup win would cement this horse’s spot as one of the best of the last decade.
Biggest Pretender: Will Take Charge
The aura that surrounds a bona fide legend like trainer D. Wayne Lukas will have bettors running to the window to place a wager on Will Take Charge, but this is not a smart gamble to make this weekend.
Will Take Charge has two straight wins coming into this week's event, but he has not lived up that hype in the biggest races of his career. The three-year-old failed to make an impact at this year’s Triple Crown races, finishing eighth, seventh and 10th, respectively.
As if the deck wasn't stacked against the young horse already, add in the fact that he will have to start from the 10th post position (he has trouble working through traffic), and it will be a long day that culminates in a terrible finish.
Biggest Sleeper: Palace Malice
It's a stretch to think of a horse with 10-1 odds as a sleeper, but that’s exactly what Palace Malice has become. With jockey Mike Smith jumping ship, there are four horses with better or even betting odds Saturday.
Palace Malice finished second at last month's Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and won the Jim Dandy Stakes in July. Add in his win at the 2013 Belmont Stakes, and it's stunning the odds are this low.
While there is no doubting the inconsistency Palace Malice has shown over his short career, there is also no denying the success. This is a horse you can bet will finish in the top three.