Favorite Wise Dan runs to glory at the Breeders’ Cup
ARCADIA, California - Reuters
Jockey John Velazquez on Wise Dan (C) rides for victory at the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park. AFP photoWise Dan cemented his credentials as America’s top-ranked race horse while Game On Dude spectacularly failed as the 2012 Breeders’ Cup ended in glorious sunshine on Nov. 3.
Game on Dude, the overwhelming favorite for the marquee Breeders’ Classic, finished a surprising seventh out of 12 runners after making a poor start, effectively ending his chance of securing Horse of the Year honors.
That accolade now seems certain to fall to Wise Dan after the five-year-old gelding bolted to a sizzling victory in the $2 million Mile, posting a track record on the way to his fourth consecutive win.
Also taking advantage of Game on Dude’s unexpected fall from grace was Fort Larned, who stormed to a stunning upset win by half a length over Mucho Macho Man in the Classic, America’s richest horse race.
A crowd of 55,123 was enthralled by the card on the second and final day of the Breeders’ Cup, billed as the world championship of thoroughbred racing, as only three favourites triumphed in nine events.
In addition to Wise Dan’s expected dominance over the mile, Groupie Doll stretched her unbeaten run to five races with victory in the Filly and Mare Sprint while Shanghai Bobby also made it a perfect five-of-five by winning the Juvenile.
The star of the day for most fans, however, was Wise Dan who broke from the pack on the home straight and held off 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom by a length and a half.
The gelding covered the mile in 1:31.78 to beat the track record set in 1997 by Atticus by .11 seconds, all the more impressive given that Atticus carried nine fewer pounds at 117.
“I just wanted to get him in the right position,” jockey John Velazquez said after Wise Dan’s ninth victory in his last 11 races. “When I was able to do that, and you’ve got a horse as good as this, you can expect a result like this.”
Fort Larned, a 9-1 shot, stole the limelight in the $5 million Classic, leading all the way after making a storming start and holding off a late surge by Mucho Macho Man with a strong finish.