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 $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“I didn’t sleep a lot last night,” Wilkes said after his
first Breeders’ Cup victory. “It has not really sunk in yet.”
Wilkes said that Fort Larned, owned by Janis Whitham, came
out of the race well and was scheduled to leave Santa Anita at 11 Sunday
morning to go to Ontario Airport for a flight back to Kentucky where Wilkes is
stabled at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by 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 ½ lengths back to Flat Out in third.
Wilkes was asked his thoughts when Fort Larned was
challenged by Mucho Macho Man entering the stretch.
“Stop riding, 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.”
Saturday’s victory capped a big two days for the
Wilkes-Hernandez pairing as they teamed to win the Ack Ack Handicap with Neck
‘n Neck on Friday at Churchill Downs that serves as a prep for the Clark
Handicap on Nov. 23.
Any chance of a Wilkes entry in the Clark?
“No,” Wilkes said with a broad grin. “He 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 (for the 30th
Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2, 2013).
“One race I would like to run in is the Stephen Foster. I
really want to do better than he did this year (finishing last of eight).”