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2012 Breeders' Cup Classic: Respect the Greek

Ron The Greek, with Jose Lezcano aboard wins the 2012 Santa Anita Handicap at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia California on March 03, 2012.
He's never been worse than second, has won two grade ones, one in the Midwest and one in the West, while running second twice in the East. Sounds like a darn good horse doesn’t it? Sounds like a horse that should be at the top of his division….So tell me, why doesn’t Ron the Greek get any respect?
 
He wins the Santa Anita Handicap and the Stephen Foster, two of the biggest grade ones races for older males. He then places second in the grade one Whitney after a horrible trip an after making up a ton of ground. He has one of the best records in 2012 and he still gets passed over like he’s yesterday’s news. Who is his competition for the top spot? Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man, and Game on Dude are the main challengers.
 
Fort Larned does have quite the speed record. In four of his last five starts the strapping stallion has run a 108 Beyer Speed Figure or better. The only blip on the radar was the Stephen Foster, where he was beaten by Ron the Greek, himself. After that he returned to romp in the Cornhusker Handicap. He then won the Whitney convincingly, though, Ron the Greek was cutting into his lead rapidly. As it stands He has one grade one win and two other graded stakes wins.
 
Mucho Macho Man, is a tremendous horse with a stride the size of Montana. Being a May foal, he is just now hitting his stride. So far this year he has impressed in the Sunshine Millions, the Gulfstream Park Cap., and the Suburban Handicap. His only “bad” run was in the Alysheba and he ran third. In all his wins he has recorded fast times and has visually wowed spectators. His largest flaw is that he has yet to win a grade one. He did run second in the grade one Woodward, but second is not a win. He does have one head to head win over Ron the Greek, however, he still has no grade one wins to his credit.
 
Game on Dude has the best case of any older male when comparing records to Ron the Greek. He has a grade one win in the Hollywood Gold Cup, but that is his only grade one win. He also has two grade two races. All total, he has three graded stakes wins to Ron’s two, however; again, Ron has two grade one wins while second in the Oaklawn Handicap, Whitney, and the Sunshine Millions. Game On Dude has been off the board this year, and was beaten in his most recent grade one try, the Pacific Classic.
 
I understand that fans have their favorites, but one cannot let personal favoritism blind them to facts when looking at overall rankings. You have to push feelings aside and look at who has done the most, who has faced the best, and who has come out with the best record. When it comes down to that Ron the Greek takes the cake. He is the leader of the division and it's high time people started to recognize that.

 

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Older Comments about 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic: Respect the Greek...

icy, I agree that this group is a very deep and talented one. I don't remember a time where the speed figures for an entire group of older males have been so consistently high. Even with some defections, I strongly believe the classic will be not only highly competitive an interesting race to handicap, but also a deep field full of talent. I cannot wait for the fall races to unfold so that we may see who will lead the division into what looks to be a very exciting race.
dani.pugh, I love RTG and WD but as you pointed out it's his tactical speed that will give FL the edge. Of course having that edge is not a guarantee of anything but I'm really excited over what I perceive as an extradinary group of older horses that hasn't been seen for a while from my perspective anyway.
Icy, Fort Larned will be tough no doubt. One could argue he got the perfect trip, but it is that tacticle speed that allows him to get that trip. Ron had an absolutely atrocious ride, IMO. Way, way, way too far back. He might be a closer, but he should have been closer than that. I believe both of these big boys are going to the JCGC. The rubber match between these two should help decide who is the east coasts top older male. Should Fort Larned win again, he will have two grade ones, and like Ron, one at 9f and one at 10f. While his grade ones will have been in NY, this horse has raced at various locations and traveled around some, running very well at other tracks. However, Fort Larned needs to win this race to gain the edge over Ron. Until then he still is not number one.
B Hernandez is really good with Fort Larned and handles him extremely well getting him relaxed each time aboard. In his last race although RTG was closing FL was well in hand and had been. Outside of something extraordinary this 4yo shouldn't have a problem as he seems to have come into his own and "his own" owns the rest.
Buds, he has faced the better competition, he has raced in the more prestigious races. His schedule, outside of the Sunshine Millions, consists of nothing lower than a grade two, with three of his five races being grade ones. He has never run worse than second, and his three grade one runs have come from literally all over the country. MMM, has only run in one grade one this year, he has finished worse than second, and has stayed on the East Coast thus far. Another fun fact, Ron has yet to be beaten by more than 3 lengths this year, by any horse. MMM lost the Alysheba by 7 lengths. Anscot, while agree the field needs to be taken into account, certain races are known to draw the best fields. The Whitney drew a dynamite field. The Stephen Foster drew fantatstic, and The Big Cap also didn't do half bad. Voters also look at the grade when deciding, why, because those races hold prestige. The Brooklyn comes nowhere close to what Ron's three grade ones came to. Either way you look, number of grade ones or competition, Ron comes out on top. His overal body of work is much, much better than MMM.
I agree it would b a great idea to run in a prep at SA. I dought it will happen. I can never figure out what the connections for this horse are thinking.
I like Sullivan's line of thinking. A race at SA prior to the BC would be good for MMM.
Hopefully we will be able to see MMM work over SA or race over it prior to the BCC.
Pugh, how can you say that one body of work is clearly beter than the other, these 2 are about as even as it gets. I do like the fact that Ron has won at the distance and the track (which every handicapper in the world will notice on BC day). However MMM is just as talented and if they both fire a good race, I like MMM. FYI, Alternation also Beat the Greek.
Spend A Buck was a May 15th foal, so he was still a 2 yr old when he won the Derby.
MMM was a solid 3rd at 10f while he was still technically a 2-yo, late baby that he is. I wouldn't discount him based on the distance, but I think Dani makes a valid point about him never having run anywhere except the East Coast and the Fair Grounds.
"His largest flaw is that he has yet to win a grade one." This is a direct quote from the article upon which I was commenting. The field is much more important than the Grade. The Suburban is MMM's best race. I just don't think that Grade 1 vs. Grade 2 should be emphasized. Compare the field, the track/time and the body of work!!!
Ron has faced better and beaten better than Mucho has this year. The Sunshine Millions, behind those two had little in it. Ron went to beat some nice horses in the Big Cap and Stephen Foster. Faced a much better field in the Whitney than what was in the Woodward. He has faced better all year. Mucho Macho Man, while fast and talented runs on one coast. Ron ran on both and still has yet to throw in a below par performance. MMM was beaten by a good bit in the alysheba. One's Body of work clearly outweighs the other.
anscot domeon who understands that horses simply run to their ability and form cycle and have NO IDEA what man made structure they are running against BRAVO
The horses don't know whether its a Grade 1 or Grade 2; MMM beat RTG; I wouldn't make a distinction based upon the the grading, rather on the field!!!
name a venue that has more than a radom few 10 furlong contests!
Very true Mike. The best way for us to tell on the east is if a horse has gotten the distance as a three year old, breeding, and the JCGC. Other than that it is not easy. IMO that gives Ron another edge. No other eastern horse has won going 10f yet, let alone a grade one. Flat Out likes Belmont, however, he couldn't hold off Ron going 9f, I don't think he will going 10. Fort Larned has gone 9.5f, and looked good doing it, but again, it wasn't against grade one competition. It should be interesting, but I say this horse wins the Gold Cup and comes into the Classic with three grade ones, one in the East, Mid, and West, with an eye for the Classic. Should he take that he is HOTY, no doubt.
I think the biggest plus for both Ron the Greek and Game on Dude is that they have won at 1 1/4 miles. Since New York has basically abandoned 10 furlong racing, most of the eastern horses are unproven at the distance. The last few years the key to picking the Classic winner is finding the horse that likes 10 furlongs.
Depending on the next few preps for BC Classic...with such a competitive division and no real clear cut favorite, it looks like a solid betting race...looking forward to it.
alternation was beaten by Ron. Richart was beaten by dude and I might be wrong, but Ron has only started once at Santa Anita and he won.

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