2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic Cheat Sheet
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic
So you want to watch the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday but you have no idea who’s running. Not to worry! Here’s a thumbnail of the field in order of post position with their morning line odds. Be sure to check out our 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff Cheat Sheet and check back Friday and Saturday for our Breeders’ Cup picks!
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1. Last Gunfighter (20-1) – The winner of the Grade 3 Phillip Iselin has racked up a string of six straight wins after breaking his maiden last fall. His only real clunker was last out in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, where he finished a distant 5th behind winner Ron the Greek. Then again everyone BUT Ron the Greek seemed to throw a clunker that day. If you’re willing to overlook his last effort he could be an interesting prospect.
2. Paynter (12-1) – The comeback kid has put in a string of solid efforts after returning from a life-threatening injury but has yet to win in stakes company this year. Last out he finished more than four lengths behind Mucho Macho Man in the Grade 1 Awesome Again. He’s made a favorable appearance in the morning and his post position should allow him to settle into a nice spot behind the speed. He would certainly be a heartwarming Classic winner!
3. Planteur (20-1) – This European turf specialist isn’t as accomplished as his overseas contemporary Declaration of War but he’s no slouch either. In fact he could be an interesting addition to the pace scenario as he’s gone straight to the lead in last three races. Given that he’s inside of Moreno, and all the other speed horses, he could gain the advantage and try to take the field all the way. But will he like Santa Anita’s dirt course? It remains to be seen.
4. Moreno (15-1) – This “need to lead” type has put together a nice string of high profile “almosts” since winning the Grade 2 Dwyer over the summer. His running style will not do him any favors in a field with Game on Dude and Fort Larned but he’s got the advantage of drawing to their inside. This will be his first start against older horses, but he’s proven that he has plenty of heart in the final furlong, and he’ll need it!
5. Declaration of War (10-1) – Show (3rd) – This classy European shipper is a bit of wild card, and not only because he’s raced exclusively overseas. Last out he won the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York in England by stalking the pace and then grinding down the front-runners in the stretch. While he does have a favorable running style for the likely pace scenario, he’ll be making his first start on dirt.
6. Mucho Macho Man (5-1) – Winner – He’s put together a string of solid efforts since running 2nd in last year’s Classic but didn’t put it together for a win until he shipped in to Santa Anita for the Grade 1 Awesome Again last out. He remained at Santa Anita to train and has been garnering favorable reports from far and wide for his appearance over the track. He certainly would not be a surprise, especially with a nice zippy pace to stalk.
7. Fort Larned (5-1) – Last year’s Classic winner, lovingly known as Big Ugly around the barn, comes in off an easy front-running victory in the ungraded Homecoming Classic at Churchill last month. In his last three wins, including last year’s Classic, he’s taken the field wire to wire and in his last two loses he did not make the lead. So, the biggest concern for Big Ugly will be that Moreno to his inside and Game on Dude to his outside will also be looking for the lead.
8. Palace Malice (10-1) – The Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner made his first outing against older horses last out in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup where he finished 2nd, 6+ lengths behind upset winner Ron the Greek. Prior to that he was lighting the 3-year-old ranks on fire by following up his Belmont win with a win in the Grade Jim Dandy and gutsy near miss in the Grade 1 Travers, less than a length behind Will Take Charge. If you’re willing to toss his effort in the Jockey Club (he was at least two lengths ahead of the rest of the pack) then he’s a very interesting prospect.
9. Game on Dude (8-5) – This two-time Classic starter has gotten better with age and has remained undefeated in his last six starts. With the exception of the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic he’s had the lead by the first call in each of those races. In fact the last time that he wasn’t on or near the lead by the first call was his defeat in last year’s Classic where he finished a distant 7th as the favorite. As is usual he’s gotten all the requisite “oohs” and “aahs” in the morning. Will the third time starting in the Classic be a charm for the Dude? He’ll have competition to get the lead, and his post position won’t do him any favors, but he appears to be ready for the task.
10. Will Take Charge (12-1) – Place (2nd) – He seemed like a one hit wonder on the Triple Crown trail when he pulled a 28-1 upset over stablemate and Preakness winner Oxbow in the Rebel Stakes but has turned his year around this summer by putting in two impressive wins in the Grade 1 Travers and Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby. With Game on Dude and Moreno in the field he should get a favorable pace scenario and could certainly pull an upset.
Ron the Greek (8-1) – This talented but inconsistent guy has bookend wins in his seven starts this year with several head-scratchers in between. In his last win in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup he took advantage of a fast inside rail to blow away a talented field by over six lengths. In addition to taking advantage of the best part of the track, he was much more forwardly placed than usual, so that when it was time for him to launch his bid, he not only was able to get to his foes in time, but leave them in the dust. Can he do it again? It wouldn’t be the first time trainer Bill Mott pulled off a fabulous upset in the Classic! SCRATCHED
12. Flat Out (12-1) – Like Game on Dude he’ll be making his third consecutive start in the Classic and looking for his first win. Unlike Game on Dude he’s had a bit of an uneven year, winning only two of his seven starts. His last win was in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont in July where he sat right behind a zippy pace and kicked home with a nice turn of foot. This race should set up the same way but he’s facing much tougher competition when it comes to time to get the job done.