Wilkes: Fort Larned could go for a Classic defense next
|Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man's stretch duel in the Classic provided a fitting end to a formful 2012 Breeders' Cup
(Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos)
Trainer Ian Wilkes had a not-so-surprising revelation Sunday morning, a
little more than 12 hours after Fort Larned's front-running victory in the
Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
sleep a lot last night," Wilkes said after his first Breeders' Cup victory. "It
has not really sunk in yet."
that Fort Larned, owned by Janis Whitham, came out of the race well and was
scheduled to leave Santa Anita at 11 a.m. (PST) Sunday morning to go to Ontario Airport for
a flight back to Kentucky, where Wilkes is stabled at Churchill Downs.
Brian Hernandez Jr., Fort Larned grabbed the lead out of the gate and had to
fend off Mucho Macho Man through the stretch to prevail by a half-length. It was
another 6 1/2 lengths back to Flat Out in third.
asked his thoughts when Fort Larned was challenged by Mucho Macho Man entering
Mike," Wilkes said of Mike Smith who was aboard Mucho Macho Man. "You've already
won the Ladies' Classic. I was looking for the wire."
victory capped a big two days for the Wilkes-Hernandez pairing as they teamed to
win the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap with Neck 'n Neck on Friday at Churchill Downs that
serves as a prep for the Grade 1 Clark Handicap on November 23.
Any chance of
a Wilkes entry in the Clark?
said with a broad grin. "(Fort Larned) is going to get a little break and then go to
Gulfstream for the winter. I will talk it over with the Whitham Family and plan
backward to get back here (to Santa Anita for the 30th Breeders' Cup Classic on November 2, 2013).
"One race I
would like to run in is the (Grade 1) Stephen Foster. I really want to do better than he
did this year (finishing last of eight)."
|Royal Delta could take on
Fort Larned in next year's Classic, according to Mott
In the 2011 Breeders' Cup, trainer Bill Mott saddled the winners of the both
the Ladies' Classic and Classic. The Hall of Famer started 2012 in the same
manner, sending out Royal Delta to defend her title in the Ladies' Classic, but
was forced to watch as Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man drew off in the Classic
from Flat Out, one of three entrants in the race.
"Everybody looks OK this morning," assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset
said. "To Honor and Serve is retired and has left already. He is flying to
Kentucky and going to Gainesway to begin his new career. The other three are
flying to Payson Park in Florida on Monday afternoon.
"The three that are still here walked this morning and everybody ate good."
In addition to Flat Out's third in the Classic, Ron the Greek was just three
parts of a length farther back in fourth while To Honor and Serve could do no
better than 10th in the race.
Royal Delta is scheduled to remain in training for her five-year-old season in 2013. Mott
has said that the plan is to run again in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup in March and to
compete against males in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita.
My Miss Aurelia was unable to catch Royal Delta in the Ladies' Classic, but
her second in the race helped trainer Steve
Asmussen earn the top finishes of any of the trainers during the two-day
Breeders' Cup World Championships Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Asmussen's one win
and three seconds outranked the rest of the field and made for smiles and easy
conversation on Sunday morning. The conditioner sent out Tapizar to take the
Dirt Mile, while Dust and Diamond and Unbridled's Note joined My Miss Aurelia by
finishing second in their respective races, the Filly & Mare Sprint and Turf
|Tapizar broke up Asmussen's seconditis in the 2012 Breeders' Cup by winning the Dirt Mile
"I'm very proud of our team and the way the horses ran," he said. "I'm really
happy Tapizar won. Four bridesmaids might have been a bit much.
really know how you describe heartbreak and pride in the same situation. But
those were my feelings," he added about My Miss Aurelia's near-miss in Friday's
Overall, all six of his horses earned a check. Great Mills was fourth in the
Turf Sprint and Justin Phillip was fifth in the Sprint.
All of the Breeders' Cup runners were in good shape Sunday, Asmussen said. Dust
and Diamonds was on an airplane on her way to Kentucky for Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton
breeding stock sale.
Another major beneficiary of the Asmussen record was jockey Corey Nakatani, who
was aboard Tapizar, My Miss Aurelia and Unbridled's Note.
"Ten Breeders' Cup wins -- not bad for
an old hacker," Nakatani quipped about his victory on Tapizar.
The rider's win and two seconds moved him ever closer to the retired
Gary Stevens for eighth-place on the Breeders' Cup money-won list. Nakatani now
has earnings of $12,813,910 to Stevens' $13,723,910.
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