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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

Top Three Brace for Big 'Cap Showdown

Mucho Macho Man Will Take Charge BC 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Alex Evers


Post positions were announced for one of the biggest Big 'Caps in recent memory Wednesday. A field of eight will go postward for the 2014 Santa Anita Handicap Saturday, but in the eyes of many racing fans, the field is only three-deep.

Mucho Macho Man, who won last year's Breeders' Cup Classic at this route, will break from post position No. 2. A winner of three straight dating back to the 2013 Awesome Again, Mucho Macho Man will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, and the 124-pound highweight is the 9/5 morning line favorite.

Close behind that one, both in weight carried and morning-line odds, is Will Take Charge. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee arguably got the worst of the draw, as the late-runner will break from the rail. The reigning champion 3-year-old male has been assigned 123 pounds, and is the 2-1 second choice. Luis Saez will fly in from the East Coast to pilot the 4-year-old, who ran second behind Lea last out in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Meanwhile, 5/2 third choice Game On Dude will break from post No. 7 in his attempt at an unprecedented third triumph in the Big 'Cap. Last seen finishing up the track in February's San Antonio Stakes, the Bob Baffert-trained gelding won this race in both 2011 and 2013, and the front-runner will have plenty of time to clear the field in the long run to Santa Anita's first turn. Game On Dude will carry 122 pounds in his quest to make history and snap a losing streak that dates back to last summer's Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Many of the other five horses in the field figure to be longshots Saturday afternoon. Of the newer shooters, the one who may take the most play at the windows is Blingo. Trained by John Shirreffs, the 5-year-old gelding by Artie Schiller upset Game On Dude, Blueskiesnrainbows, and others in the San Antonio. With his running style, the distance should not be a problem, and he gets seven pounds from Mucho Macho Man, but he and jockey Aaron Gryder may not get the early pace he saw several weeks ago.

Imperative, Rousing Sermon, American Blend, and Hear the Ghost complete the field of eight, which will go 10 furlongs at 4 p.m. Pacific time Saturday afternoon at the Great Race Place. The Santa Anita Handicap headlines a spectacular card that includes four other stakes races, including three of the graded variety.


Mucho Macho Man 


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Older Comments about Top Three Brace for Big 'Cap Showdown...

What will the WTC/MMM or MMM/WTC exacta pay?
he WILL get bet to underlay status that is an assured notion
WTC/MMM/HTG/RS straight superfecta.
I sure was hoping to see Blueskiesnrainbows in here to prompt Game On Dude on the lead again and make things a little bit easier for Mucho Macho Man. No matter, MMM will still show why he'll be Horse of the Year in 2014.
I think the big wagering question is: just how much action will Game On Dude actually get? He does have a very loyal following.
The top four finishers for the Santa Anita Handicap or Big Cap are 1st: 2 Mucho Macho Man (Gary Stevens), 2nd: 1 Will Take Charge (Luis Saez), 3rd: 3 Blingo (Aaron Gryder), and 4th 7 Game On Dude (Mike Smith)
The top four finishers for the Santa Anita Handicap or Big Cap are 1st: 2 Mucho Macho Man (Gary Stevens), 2nd: 1 Will Take Charge (Luis Saez), 3rd: Blingo (Aaron Gryder), and 4th 7 Game On Dude (Mike Smith)
Well, Uncle Sigh and Samraat paid $9.40 for a $2 exacta wager at even money in the Withers. I'd say a MMM/WTC (or WTC/MMM) would pay somewhere in that same neighborhood.

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Meet Andrew Champagne


A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.

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