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Las Vegas, NV - Another year of scintillating Breeders' Cup action has come and gone - thanks Santa Anita for a tremendous weekend of action. Some definite Eclipse Award candidates cemented their claims; some new contenders emerged while some previous standouts fell flat. Let's take a look at what went down Saturday during the single biggest afternoon of horse racing on the planet.
In the best performance of his life, 9-1 fifth choice Fort Larned started strong in the Breeders' Cup Classic and led the 1 1/4-mile race from start to finish, bravely holding off a stubborn Mucho Macho Man in a thrilling stretch drive to win one the $5 million race by a half-length. Mucho Macho Man was a very close second in what turned out to be a two-horse race while Flat Out finished third, another 6 1/2 lengths back. 6-5 favorite Game On Dude finished a very disappointing seventh.
9-5 favorite Wise Dan capped a remarkable 2012 season and became a prime candidate for Horse of the Year with a powerful win in the Breeders' Cup Mile in course record time Saturday at Santa Anita. Animal Kingdom, last year' Kentucky Derby champion made an impressive return from injury and finished 1 1/4 lengths back in second while front-running Obviously under the direction of Joe Talamo held well for third.
Sherry Parbhoo's 13-1 long shot Trinniberg snapped a three-race losing streak and possibly clinched an Eclipse Award championship with a swift and decisive score in Saturday's $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. The Grade 1 Vosburgh winner The Lumber Guy didn't quite have enough at the wire and finished 3/4 of a length back while 20-1 shot Smiling Tiger was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third. 7-2 favorite and defending champion in this race Amazombie was a very disappointing eighth.
17-1 long shot Little Mike bounced back from a drubbing in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park to outrun 2-1 favorite Point of Entry by a half length and defending champion 3-1 second choice St Nicholas Abbey in Saturday's $2,727,000 Breeders' Cup Turf in record time at Santa Anita Saturday. Little Mike was ignored in the betting for the BC Turf, with much of the focus on Point of Entry and St Nicholas Abbey.
Undefeated 6-5 favorite Shanghai Bobby wrapped up an Eclipse Award Saturday with a gutty head victory over 19-1 outsider He's Had Enough in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park. In turn Shanghai Bobby has emerged as the very early favorite for next Year's Kentucky Derby. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back for Cape Bastone, who finished third and in turn had 1 3/4 lengths to spare on Fortify.
Making her first start since May 27, 6-1 fourth choice Mizdirection won the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, her third win in three starts going 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita grass. Lukewarm 9-2 favorite Unbridled's Note was unable to win his second straight on this course but finished second while Rennesgotzip was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third in her turf debut.
Tapizar, a 15-1 shot with Corey Nakatani aboard, ran the race of his life Saturday in dominating the sixth running of the BC Dirt Mile after a brutal performance last time out in the Kelso. Veteran California mainstay 8-1 shot Rail Trip endured some difficulty during the running of the Dirt Mile, but came through the field to finish second by 1 3/4 lengths over 19-1 long shot Delegation. Shackleford, the 5-2 second choice, stumbled at the start and never had a real chance fading to seventh. Emcee, sixth as the 5-2 favorite also had no mishap out front.
3-5 favorite Groupie Doll overcame a wide trip in Saturday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita to score an easy win (her fifth straight) and wrap up the Eclipse Award as champion female sprinter. 9-2 second choice Dust and Diamonds finished second, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Switch. Make no mistake about it however - this race was ALL Groupie Doll.
Aidan O'Brien captured the first Breeders' Cup World Championships race of the Saturday card at Santa Anita Park when 9-1 shot George Vancouver made a great kick in midstretch to take the $1 million Juvenile Turf by 1 1/4 lengths. Chad Brown trained 7-2 favorite Noble Tune finished second, a neck in front of his training partner Balance the Books.
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