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Sunday, November 4, 2012 - Page updated at 09:00 p.m.

Fort Larned wins Breeders' Cup Classic at 9-1 odds | Horse racing

By The Associated Press and The New York Times

ARCADIA, Calif. — Front-running Fort Larned, a 9-1 shot, won the $4.545 million Breeders' Cup Classic by a half-length over Mucho Macho Man on Saturday at Santa Anita.

Brian Hernandez Jr., who rode the winner, celebrated his 27th birthday with the biggest victory of his career.

"If someone told me in May I was riding a Breeders' Cup horse, much less winning it, I would have told them they were crazy," he said.

Fort Larned, a 4-year-old colt trained by Ian Wilkes, ran 1 ¼ miles in 2 minutes, 0.11 seconds in the showcase race of the two-day world championships. He paid $20.80 in the Grade I event before a crowd of 55,123.

Mucho Macho Man, a 6-1 shot, failed to gain on Fort Larned in the final furlong.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was 0 of 9 in the Cup races, including a seventh-place finish in the 12-horse Classic by 13-10 favorite Game On Dude.

The 5-year-old gelding was lightly steadied after the break by jockey Rafael Bejarano and ran what Baffert called "probably the worst race of his life."

Of Fort Larned, Wilkes said, "I knew we were good when he broke sharp. That's where Brian won the race. We broke sharp and Game On Dude broke bad."

Flat Out and Ron the Greek, the three-four finishers in the Classic, are trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott.

Notes

• Fort Larned was among five winners in Saturday's nine Breeders' Cup races who returned more than $20 on a $2 win bet. The others were 5-year-old gelding Little Mike ($36.60) in the $2.727 million Turf, 4-year-old colt Tapizar ($32.60) in the $909,000 Dirt Mile, 3-year-old colt Trinniberg ($29.40) in the $1.3635 million Sprint and colt George Vancouver ($20.60) in the $909,000 Juvenile Turf.

Wise Dan ($5.60 to win), a 5-year-old gelding, made his case for North American Horse of the Year honors by taking the $1.818 million Mile on turf in a course-record 1 minute, 31.78 seconds.

Other betting favorites who won were colt Shanghai Bobby ($4.60) in the $1.818 million Juvenile and 4-year-old filly Groupie Doll ($3.40) in the $909,000 Filly & Mare Sprint.

Mizdirection ($15.80), a 4-year-old filly, defeated a predominantly male field in the $909,000 Turf Sprint. Her owners include sports-talk radio host Jim Rome.

• Rosie Napravnik, Shanghai Bobby's jockey, joins Julie Krone as the only women to ride a winner in the Breeders' Cup (not including steeplechase races). Krone won on favored Halfbridled in the 2003 Juvenile Fillies.

Breeders' Cup World Championships
Recap of Saturday's winners at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.:
Race Horse Trainer Jockey Payoff
Juvenile Turf George Vancouver O'Brien Moore $20.60
Filly & Mare Sprint Groupie Doll Bradley Maragh $3.40
Dirt Mile Tapizar Asmussen Nakatani $32.60
Turf Sprint Mizdirection Puype Smith $15.80
Juvenile Shanghai Bobby Pletcher Napravnik $4.60
Turf Little Mike Romans Dominguez $36.60
Sprint Trinniberg Parbhoo Martinez $29.40
Mile Wise Dan Lopresti Velazquez $5.60
Classic Fort Larned Wilkes Hernandez $20.80

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