Breeders' Cup 2013 Contenders: Last-Minute Predictions for Saturday's Classic

Brendan O'Meara@@BrendanOMearaFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2013

Breeders' Cup 2013 Contenders: Last-Minute Predictions for Saturday's Classic

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Out of the 11 horses in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, six have a legitimate shot at winning. Ron the Greek scratched, but he was going to do his running late anyway. It would be a different scenario if one of the key pace horses scratched.

    It’s as deep a field as we’ve seen in years, which makes it an exciting watch, but also a great betting race. Championship honors are at stake such as Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year-Old. Bob Baffert, who has won a number of Breeders' Cup races, has never won the big one and he has two horses entered.

    The following slides will break the race up into its fractions, creating a virtual Classic with the winner at the end.


The Opening Quarter-Mile: All Moreno

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    Moreno, breaking from Post 4, will have a clear shot at the lead. Frankly, it’s his only shot at making an impact. He’ll run as fast as he can and hold on for as long as he can

    Fort Larned will join him in the opening quarter-mile and start to ease past Moreno. Fort Larned has a higher cruising speed and is more seasoned on the lead in a big race.

    Game On Dude, also a pace setter, will want to stay a length of the pace, which promises to be swift. His best shot is to conserve as best he can. He’ll be running alongside Palace Malice and Mucho Macho Man, all of whom will try to get the best position toward the front of herd.

    Will Take Charge will be 10 lengths or more off the pace.

After a Half in 46 and Change: Fort Larned in Front

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    Moreno is starting to feel gassed as Fort Larned puts a classier head in front. Moreno will keep holding on, but clearly this won’t be his day.

    Game On Dude comes up and is cruising in second or third, again with Mucho Macho Man and Palace Malice to his left. These three should still look relaxed as they await the most difficult section of the race.

    Will Take Charge still lurks 10 lengths back.

    The jockeys, by now, have a sense of who’s heaving and who has horse.

They’ve Gone 3/4s in 1:09: Fort Larned Rolls On

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Moreno is done. He fades as Fort Larned continues his run into the clubhouse turn. He slowed down the last quarter-mile to save energy, but he’s got company now.

    Game On Dude needs to make his move and challenge Fort Larned. Game On Dude moves up, but he’s pulling Mucho Macho Man and Palace Malice along with him. It's looking like it's going to be a war down the stretch.

    Will Take Charge starts to move, now only eight lengths back.

A Mile in 1:34: Mucho Macho Man Surges

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    Gary Stevens, aboard Mucho Macho Man, lets out the reins and turns his horse loose. With giant strides he straightens for home and pulls even with Game On Dude, who has taken the lead from Fort Larned. These two battle as Mucho Macho Man eases past Game On Dude.

    Fort Larned, not as sharp as he was a year ago, shortens up.

    Palace Malice is right on Mucho Macho Man’s flank surging with him and past Game On Dude.

    Will Take Charge is weaving between horses while Game On Dude digs in.

They’re Coming Down to the Wire…

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    Mucho Macho Man and Palace Malice spar. It looks like last year’s race between Mucho Macho Man and Fort Larned. It was just the two of them, side by side, detached from the rest of the field.

    MMM and Palace Malice trade head bobs, but Mucho Macho Man will not be turned away as he extends his lead to a half-length, edging Palace Malice at the wire.

    Game On Dude digs in down the lane to hang on for third while fast-closing Will Take Charge bombed late to get fourth.

    Fort Larned, valiant on the lead, fades to seventh. Moreno finishes last of them all.

    And Kathy Ritvo, trainer to Mucho Macho Man and heart transplant recipient, becomes the first female trainer to win the Breeders' Cup Classic.