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2012 Breeders' Cup Classic: Game On!

After this weekend, there is only one conclusion that can be drawn. There is no longer any substance to the three year old male division. This is not meant as a slight to Alpha, who seems to be terrific in New York, but, New York is far from the only racing state in the United States, and it is a well-known fact that the Breeders Cup Championships will not be held there, but three thousand miles away.
The older division, unlike the three year old males, is far from depleted. It is deep and full of talent, brimming with horses that are likely to show their talent at the ripest moment. They will be on display this coming weekend in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Awesome Again Stakes, on opposite sides of the country.
Pointing for the Awesome Again Stakes are the second, third, and fourth place finishers of the Pacific Classic. West Coast ruler Game on Dude, who was second in the Pacific Classic, will be returning to his favorite track after a courageous performance over his least favorite track. He is cutting back to nine furlongs and gets a jockey change for this start. What does this mean? Expect the Dude to come back with a vengeance.
Richard’s Kid who was third in the Pacific Classic has yet to finish ahead of Game on Dude in the two times they have met this year. I seriously doubt this will be any different. Richard’s Kid is a very good horse, but I have a feeling he likes much longer than nine furlongs and simply just does not have the speed to keep up with his rival.
Rail Trip has certainly had one heck of a rollercoaster ride while trying to regain the form we saw in the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup. He looked good two starts back, but was no match for the top three in the Pacific Classic. It could possibly be that he is not grade one material over Polytrack. This weekend, we shall see if he is grade one material over Santa Anita’s dirt.
Shifting back to the East Coast, the Jockey Club Gold Cup features the Whitney Handicap’s top three finishers back for Round Two. Fort Larned can easily be labeled as the fastest horse on the East Coast. In his last five starts he has earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure or higher in four of them. The Whitney was a 110, and it didn’t even look like he broke a sweat that race. Being that this is a one turn 10 furlong event, and he already has won well at nine and a half furlongs, I don’t see the distance being an issue.
The one issue for Fort Larned will not be a question of how well he can run the distance, but if he can run it better than Ron the Greek. This consistent stud hasn’t been out of the top two once this year. He has two grade one wins, one in the West, one in the Midwest, and should he win here, he’ll add a grade one on the East coast to his credit. He’s already won at 10 furlongs, so we know the distance is not an issue, the question is can he run down Fort Larned?
Whitney second runner up is Flat Out, who like his stablemate, Ron the Greek, is ever so consistent. In the last two years he has run second and third in the Whitney, and this year he enters the Jockey Club Gold Cup as the defending champion. Anyone writing him off has better have a darn good reason, given his consistency and his returning to the sight of his greatest win.
The leader of the Classic division, on each coast should emerge this weekend. One might already say the West Coast leader has already been crowned, but nothing is ever a given. Hopefully, this weekend provides a clearer picture and sets up for an epic match of East vs West heading into the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic.


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Older Comments about 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic: Game On!...

He is not entered in the Awesome Again nor is he in the Gold Cup, so techincally he cannot.
no but he can win this race
Mucho Macho Man is a very good horse, but with the lack of racing and lack of grade one wins he can't be considered in the top horses for HOTY.
Mucho Macho Man?
I also have a feeling we will see Game on Dude drop after the rider switch, however, I will wait to see it before I say he no longer holds the top spot in his division. Fort Larned is quick, but I think there is just too much speed in the Classic this year. Ron the Greek has a win over the track and the distance and will have another very good set up.
I like Fort Larned in the BCC. I have a feeling Bejarano is going to rate GoD, and he'll run his worst race so far.
I like Flat Out on Saturday, he's a Belmont horse for course, but Ron the Greek already has that important Santa Anita experience.
Ambitious I would love to see him entered in the Marathon. I think he'd be the class of the field. He is a legit distance horse IMO, not one of those that is a cut below. He has proven he is not. I just think he'd like more ground. Andy, Not sure if Mott will have them fully cranked, not sure even Fort Larned will be, since nobody wants their horse peaking the race right before the Classic. However, i can't imagine he'd not have them prepared to run. I agree that the race does set up for a closer Steve. I think RTG could very well have 4 grade one wins by year's end.
Its an interesting set up for the BCC. I personally feel better about watching a horse go 10f before the 10f classic, but racing at Santa Anita could be great experience for the horse and connections as well. I do love Richard's Kid, but I agree Laura, he seems to like more distance and may be a bit out classed by the potential BCC field. Do you see a potential curve ball and having him enter the Marathon?
If all nominated horses run..this would be a great prep race.
As much as I'd like to see Game On Dude win, I'm getting the feeling that this race is gonna set up for a closer. That's why, at least from a betting standpoint, I'm going with Ron The Greek.
I sure hope that both Ron the Greek and Flat Out come with their "A" games in the JCGC or is Mott going to wait until the Classic to have them 100%?

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