2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic Cheat Sheet
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic Replay
Courtesy of the Breeders’ Cup
So you want to watch the 2012 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.
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1. Pool Play (30-1) – The 2011 Grade 1 Stephen Foster winner is very interesting prospect if you consider that he’s a perfect 2-2 on dirt and that he can close into a soft pace (something we might see in the Classic if no one wants the lead). Last out he pulled an upset in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup precisely by closing into a soft pace, his first win since his Stephen Foster shocker.
2. Flat Out (5-1) SHOW (3rd) – The Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner put it all together after losing all 5 of his races since his 2011 Jockey Club Gold Cup win. Trainer Bill Mott, who won the Classic and Ladies Classic last year, certainly knows how to tune a horse up for a big race and since switching to Mott’s barn this year Flat Out has had a markedly better year than last.
3. Alpha (20-1) – The Travers winner does not have the best track record for winning on the road but he could have a tactical advantage if jockey Ramon Dominguez puts him on the lead and tries to control the pace.
4. Fort Larned (5-1) WINNER– The Grade 1 Whitney winner sprung a moderate (and good looking!) upset over favored Ron the Greek but followed it up with a so-so 3rd as the favorite behind Flat Out in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. If you’re willing to toss that effort he could be interesting, particularly if he tries to take them all the way on the lead like he did in the Grade 3 Cornhusker over the summer, albeit at a slightly shorter distance (and against a less competitive field).
5. Game on Dude (9-5) – The Dude has a distinct home field advantage of being a perfect 5-5 as looks to avenge his 2nd in last year’s classic. His only loss since returning from a dismal effort in Dubai was a squeaker in the Pacific Classic to Dullahan. He’s gotten rave reviews in the mornings and would probably have to throw a big clunker to not be somewhere in the picture.
6. Brilliant Speed (20-1) – Last year’s 3rd place finisher in the Turf is oddly spotted in the main track classic, particularly given that he’s never hit the board in his 4 attempts on a fast main track. He did run 3rd in the 2011 Belmont Stakes over a sloppy track but slop is highly unlikely in sunny Southern California. At least his work tab over the main track looks nice!
7. Handsome Mike (30-1) – The Pennsylvania Derby winner picks a tough spot to take on elders for the first time. He did break his maiden at Santa Anita, but in a turf sprint. He’s another one with potential to take the lead if no one else wants it, which would be a tactical advantage.
8. Nonios (20-1) – The Grade 3 Affirmed winner ran a solid 2nd behind Game on Dude in the Grade 1 Awesome Again last out, his first outing against older horses. At no time, however, did it look like he could’ve caught Game on Dude. Given his work tab and last effort he could be interesting exotic filler.
9. Richard’s Kid (12-1) – The 7-year-old’s heyday might have been from 2009 – 2010 but he looked pretty good running 2nd to Game on Dude in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup over the summer. He might also be a little better over the synthetics than the dirt but his A-game could put him in the mix.
10. Ron the Greek (6-1) FOURTH – The Bill Mott trainee was looking like the heir apparent prior to his clunker in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, won by Flat Out. Prior to that he was a game 2nd to Fort Larned in the Whitney and beat Mile favorite Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster. He also owns a win at Santa Anita at the distance. If he’s on his game he’s definitely a contender.
11. Mucho Macho Man (8-1) PLACE (2nd) – The Grade 2 Suburban winner was handed a tough beat last out in the Grade 1 Woodward as he was outgamed by To Honor and Serve on the wire. Since then he’s been training up a storm and looks ready to give Game on Dude a run for his money.
12. To Honor and Serve (8-1) – One of 3 Bill Mott trainees, he’s been a little uneven this year. All of his recent wins, including the Grade 1 Woodward where he outgamed Mucho Macho Man, have come from a speedy pace scenario, and it’s unclear if that will be the case come race day.