Trainer Ian Wilkes reported Sunday
morning that Fort Larned was a
tired but happy horse the day after his breakthrough victory in the Grade 1
Whitney Invitational Handicap.
“He ran hard; he’s a little tired,” said Wilkes of
Fort Larned, who in the Whitney earned a career-high 110 Beyer Speed Figure,
the second-best Beyer for older males at more than a mile on dirt this year.
“But he’s happy, although not as happy as I am. Really, I was
expecting that kind of performance from him. I believe in him. He’s a very
good horse. He ran the same type of race in the Cornhusker. In that race, he
beat Successful Dan; yesterday, there were more good horses.”
With the Whitney victory – his first in a Grade 1 – Fort Larned
earned an automatic berth in the 1 ¼-mile, $5 million Breeders’ Cup
Classic on November 3 at Santa Anita.
“The 1 ¼ miles I don’t think will be a problem,” said
Wilkes. “The only thing is, we have to go to California, which is Baffert
The next order of business for Wilkes and owner Janis Whitham is to
figure out what path to take to Breeders’ Cup.
“The Woodward [Grade 1, September 1] is possible, but we have to
think about how to get to the Classic and work backwards,” he said.
“The main thing is, he’ll tell me. He’s been going since
early in the year. We’ll see how he is, and he will tell us.”