Fort Larned gave his jockey a $270,000 birthday gift by winning the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the richest thoroughbred horse race in North America.
Jockey Brian Hernandez, who turned 27 years old yesterday, rode Fort Larned to a half-length victory in the Classic at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
“Fort Larned just gave us the greatest birthday present,” said Hernandez in a televised interview. “We didn’t think about the money, just the prestige of winning the race.”
Challenged down the stretch by Mucho Macho Man, Fort Larned held on to cross the finish line in the 1 ¼-mile race in two minutes, 0.11 seconds. Flat Out was third.
Hernandez and trainer Ian Wilkes earned their first Breeders’ Cup victories.
Fort Larned returned $20.80, $9.80 and $6.80 on a $2 bet. Mucho Macho Man’s second place paid $6.60 and $4.60 and Flat Out returned $5.20.
Game on Dude, the favorite, finished seventh, giving trainer Bob Baffert a 0-10 record in the Classic. Baffert, who watched Game on Dude come in second last year to Classic winner Drosselmeyer, was 0-9 yesterday on the nine-race card.
“He broke a half step slow,” Baffert said of Game on Dude. “This horse’s only weapon is speed. It was over at the one- eighth pole and was probably the worst race of his life.”
Wise Dan set a course record, covering a mile in one minute, 31.78 seconds and moving into contention for Horse of the Year honors. Wise Dan beat the record set by Atticus in 1989 in the $2 million Mile.
Wise Dan paid $5.60, $3 and $2.80 on a $2 bet. Animal Kingdom was second to return $6.60 and $4.60 with Obviously paying $4.20.
Trinniberg paid $29.40, $13.20 and $11 in winning the $1.5 million Sprint. The Lumber Guy was second to return $6.40 and $5, while Smiling Tiger was third to pay $12.20.
Little Mike posted a 17-1 upset in the $3 million Turf, paying $36.60, $12.20 and $7.80. Point of Entry was second to return $4.20 and $3 and St. Nicholas Abbey was third to pay $3.80.
Undefeated Shanghai Bobby, with jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard, held off a late charge from He’s Had Enough to win the $2 million Juvenile. The winner paid $4.70, $3.40 and $2.60. He’s Had Enough returned $12.60 and $7.40 and Capo Bastone $5.
Mizdirection, owned by radio sports talk show host Jim Rome, won the $1 million Turf Sprint. The winner paid $15.80, $7.40 and $5, followed by Unbridled’s Note, returning $5.80 and $4.40 and Reneesgotzip paying $7.
Tapizar gave jockey Corey Nakatani and trainer Steve Asmussen a victory in the $1 million Dirt Mile. Tapizar paid $32.60, $13.60 and $8.20. Rail Trip was second at $8.40 and $5.80 and Delegation was third at $8.20.
Groupie Doll, with Rajiv Maragh aboard, crossed the finish line first in the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint to pay $3.40, $2.60 and $2.10. Dust and Diamonds returned $4.20 and $3.20 for second place and Switch paid $3.60 for third.
George Vancouver closed from off the pace to beat 13 competitors in the $1 million Juvenile Turf. The winner paid $20.60, $11 and $6. Noble Tune paid $6 and $3.80 for second place and Balance the Books was third to return $6.
During the two-day Breeders’ Cup event, more than $25 million in purses was handed out to winners in the 15 races.
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