Fort Larned storms to Classic win
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
ARCADIA, California (Reuters) - Fort Larned, a 9-1 shot, stole the limelight from overwhelming favorite Game on Dude with a storming start and strong finish to record a stunning upset win in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday.
Brian Hernandez Jr piloted the four-year-old colt past the celebrated field by the first turn and stayed in front before holding off a late surge by Mucho Macho Man to win America's richest horse race in glorious late afternoon sunshine.
Mucho Macho Man, who almost pulled level while chasing Fort Larned hard down the stretch, finished half a length back in second with last year's beaten Classic favorite Flat Out a further six-and-a-half lengths adrift in third.
Game on Dude, who came desperately close to winning the 2011 Classic only to be run down by Drosselmeyer in the shadows of the post, finished a disappointing seventh out of 12 after making a slow start at Santa Anita Park.
Fort Larned's jockey Hernandez struggled to keep a broad grin off his face after celebrating his first Breeders' cup win on his 27th birthday.
"It's the greatest birthday ever," he smiled. "I always had a lot of confidence in him (Fort Larned).
"(Trainer) Ian (Wilkes) and I talked about the race and he told me don't take him out of his game and let him do whatever he wants to do. He has a good cruising speed and I just let him go."
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