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Breeders Cup 2015
Kentucky Derby 2017

Fort Larned Holds Off Mucho Macho Man In Breeders' Cup Classic

The four-year-old son of E Dubai took the Classic field wire-to-wire under jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. for trainer Ian Wilkes. Fort Larned got the jump on favorite Game On Dude and didn't look back, settling into a comfortable pace throughout the first part of the 1 1/4 mile race. Mucho Macho Man tracked in second, and launched an attack in the stretch. Fort Larned didn't budge, and held off Mucho Macho Man by a neck. Flat Out finished third.

It was the first Breeders' Cup victory for both Wilkes and Hernandez, who had partnered the day before with Neck N'Neck in the Ack Ack at Churchill Downs. Hernandez had reason to celebrate even before the Classic - today is his birthday.

Fort Larned is owned by Janis R. Whitham and was sired by E Dubai.

Fort Larned paid $20.80 for the win.


Ian Wilkes (trainer, Fort Larned, 1st) – “We had to be there near the front and he was ready today. He had galloped great over the track. I knew we were good when he broke sharp. That’s where Brian (Hernandez) won the race. We broke sharp and Game On Dude broke bad. I trust Brian because the horse trusts Brian.


“Buff (Bradley) won (Filly & Mare Sprint with Groupie Doll) and Charlie (Lopresti) won (Mile with Wise Dan), and now I won. There was some pressure there after they won. I’m glad we all three did it, because we’re such great friends. We hit the trifecta.”


Brian Hernandez Jr. (jockey, Fort Larned, 1st) – “It’s the greatest birthday ever. I always had a lot of confidence in him. Ian and I talked about the race and he told me don’t take him out of his game and let him do whatever he wants to do. He has a good cruising speed and I just let him go.”


Kathy Ritvo (trainer, Mucho Macho Man, 2nd) – “What can you do? He ran a winning race. The other horse (Fort Larned) was a great horse today. He ran a great race. Congratulations to Mr. (Ian) Wilkes and his whole team. I’m so proud of my horse. He gave 100 percent today.”


Mike Smith (jockey, Mucho Macho Man, 2nd) – “I really, really wanted to win this race for Kathy (Ritvo). Not for me, but for Kathy. He was different today. He just ran big. The other horse (Fort Larned) snuck away from me and I wasn’t able to keep up with him at that point. Brian (Hernandez) has always been a great rider. He has great hands, I’ve known him since he started, and I knew he was going to win a race like this some time. I just wish it hadn’t been today.”


Bill Mott (trainer, Flat Out, 3rd; Ron the Greek, 4th; To Honor and Serve, 10th) – “They ran good. We came out of the turn and the first two horses (Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man) didn’t back up. Ron the Greek put in a run, and Flat Out put in a good run, but the first two horses just kept motoring. I don’t think we have any huge excuse. To Honor and Serve backed up. He was laying right off the hip of Mucho Macho Man and he folded.”


Joel Rosario (jockey, Flat Out, 3rd) – “I had a perfect trip. He was so relaxed all the way around there, even in that big field. We got a good spot and I was waiting for the time. Then when I asked, he kicked it in. He ran well through the stretch, but those two in front of us (Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man), they were better today. Today it was them.”


Jose Lezcano (jockey, Ron the Greek, 4th) – “There just wasn’t enough pace for him. He made a good run, but the pace was just too slow.”


Garrett Gomez (jockey, Richard’s Kid, 5th) – “Everything went well. It’s just so hard for a horse that drops back to catch a field of this quality on a speed-favoring track. He still made up a lot of ground. He did everything he could to overcome the bias and finish fifth.”


Jerry Hollendorfer (trainer Nonios, 6th) – “I don’t know, he tried hard.”


Martin Pedroza (jockey, Nonios, 6th) – “I got a little rough trip in the early going. I don’t know what (jockey Rafael) Bejarano (on Game On Dude) was doing. He started in the five and wanted to go to the eight. I wanted to save some ground, but that made it impossible.”


Bob Baffert (trainer, Game On Dude, 7th) – “I think the first eighth of a mile cost him the race. He wants to be right up there near the front and when he wasn’t, that was it for him. It was unfortunate. It was a tough day for me, but I’ve had tougher. It really was a tough week. But what are you going to do? It was a great two days of racing here and I was glad to be part of it.


“When these things happen, when things are hard, you’ve just got to move on. A few minutes ago Joe Torre (part owner of Game On Dude) told me that you’ve got to forget it. Things that happened five seconds ago, you’ve got to let them go and move on. That’s what will happen.”


Rafael Bejarano (jockey, Game On Dude, 7th) – “He broke from the gate so well. They rushed up past us, but that didn’t matter. I got a good spot and made him comfortable. We were right where I wanted to be, and at the three-eighths (pole) he gave me his move. And then, all of a sudden, he was flat; totally out of gas. I don’t know why. I can’t understand it and I can’t explain it.”


Mark Casse (trainer, Pool Play, 8th) – “He tried. You know what, it was a dream to have him even make it this far, and he tried his best.”


Miguel Mena (jockey, Pool Play, 8th) – “He broke well and we had a good trip. Unfortunately the track wasn’t playing the way that we like it.”


Mario Gutierrez (jockey, Handsome Mike, 9th) – “He broke alertly but was taken out of his usual running style.”


John Velazquez (jockey, To Honor and Serve, 10th) – “He ran good for the first three-eighths of the mile. By the half-mile or the five-eighths he was done. I was surprised. I thought he would at least take me to the quarter pole. It wasn’t his day.”


Junior Alvarado (jockey, Brilliant Speed, 11th) – “My horse isn’t that fast to get any kind of real position and he was lugging out early. He’s just a one-pace horse. I asked him to kick in, but he really didn’t.”


Neal McLaughlin (assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, Alpha, 12th) - “I thought he got a good trip; he obviously didn’t take to the surface and got outmatched today.”


Ramon Dominguez (jockey, Alpha, 12th) – “He was in contention the first part of the race, but he just couldn’t keep up today. I don’t know what happened. He just wasn’t interested after that. I was kind of surprised.”




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