|Fort Larned, a 9-1 longshot, beats Mucho Macho Man to take the $5 million Classic. (Getty Images)|
ARCADIA, Calif. -- Fort Larned, a 9-1 long shot, led all the way to win the $5 million Classic by a half-length on Saturday, capping a weekend of upsets at the Breeders' Cup.
Brian Hernandez Jr., aboard the winner, celebrated his 27th birthday with the biggest victory of his career. Game On Dude, the 7-5 favorite who was beaten in the closing strides a year ago at Churchill Downs, was seventh in the field of 12.
"Fort Larned just gave us the greatest birthday present ever," said Hernandez, who rides mostly in racing's minor leagues at Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs.
Fort Larned ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.11 in the showcase race of the two-day world championships at Santa Anita that was shown in prime time for the first time. Just four favorites won in the event's 15 races.
Fort Larned, a 4-year-old colt, paid $20.80 to win. Trainer Ian Wilkes had never won such a big race.
Bob Baffert went 0 for 9 on the weekend, with Game On Dude failing to deliver the Hall of Famer a first-ever win in North America's richest race. It was the end of a bummer year for Baffert, who survived a heart attack in March only to finish second in each of the Triple Crown races.
Mucho Macho Man was second and Flat Out, trained by Bill Mott, was third.
Mott won last year's Classic with Drosselmeyer, and was trying to duplicate his feat from last year when he won the Ladies' Classic and the Classic. But he settled for half of that double, with Royal Delta defending her title in the $2 million race on Friday.
Upsets dominated six of the day's nine races, with Little Mike pulling off the biggest stunner at 17-1 odds in the $3 million Turf.
Rosie Napravnik joined Julie Krone as the only female jockeys to win a Breeders' Cup race when she guided 6-5 favorite Shanghai Bobby to a head victory over He's Had Enough in the $2 million Juvenile.
"As long as you've got the horse underneath you, you can get the job done," said Napravnik, who started her career riding under her initials A.R. so no one would realize she was a woman.
Shanghai Bobby dug in along the rail after it looked as if he was beaten in the stretch, setting himself up as the winter book favorite for the Kentucky Derby. The colt improved to 5-0 under trainer Todd Pletcher.
"He's got everything you want. He's fast and courageous," Pletcher said. "He's handled everything we've thrown at him, from 4½ furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. He just keeps coming."
Wise Dan, the 9-5 favorite in the $2 million Mile, came through with a 1 1/2-length victory, covering the distance in a track-record 1:31.78. He paid $5.60 to win for trainer Charles Lopresti and jockey John Velazquez, who earned his 12th BC victory.
Animal Kingdom, last year's Kentucky Derby winner who had been off for 259 days after his second and most recent injury, finished second.
Royal Delta was the only favorite to win in Friday's six races.
The string of upsets continued Saturday, with Little Mike winning the Turf by a half-length under jockey Ramon Dominguez. He paid $36.60, the highest win price for the event.
Little Mike, trained by Churchill Downs-based Dale Romans, ran 1½ miles in 2:22.83. Point of Entry was second and Ireland-based St Nicholas Abbey, last year's champion, finished third.
The win price on Little Mike topped Calidoscopio's payout of $36.40 in the $500,000 Marathon on Friday.
Tapizar beat a talented field that included 5-2 favorite Emcee, Shackleford and Fed Biz. He won by 2 1/4 lengths and paid $32.60 for trainer Steve Asmussen. Rail Trip was second and Delegation third.
"This never gets old," said jockey Corey Nakatani, who earned his 10th BC win. "Winning a race on Breeders' Cup day is special."
Trinniberg won the $1.5 million Sprint by three-quarters of a length at 13-1 odds, triggering a win price of $29.40. Jockey Willie Martinez and trainer Shivananda Parbhoo earned their first BC victories. Defending champion Amazombie, the 7-2 favorite, was eighth.
Baffert, a three-time Sprint winner, got shut out with his entries of Fast Bullet (sixth), Coil (seventh), Capital Account (12th).
In the $1 million Juvenile Turf, 9-1 shot George Vancouver found a narrow opening in the lane and bolted through to win by 1 1/4 lengths. He paid $20.60. Trainer Aidan O'Brien, jockey Ryan Moore and owner Coolmore Stud teamed to win for the second straight year.
Filly Mizdirection beat the boys by a half-length in the $1 million Turf Sprint off a six-month layoff, giving sports talk radio host and co-owner Jim Rome his first Breeders' Cup victory after several years of owning thoroughbreds.
"I'm numb," he said. "Having a hard time believing that that happened."
Sent off at 6-1 odds, Mizdirection paid $15.80, $7.40 and $5. She dropped back to 11th before rallying over 6 1/2 furlongs in a mad scramble on the downhill turf course and was timed in 1:11.39. Hall of Famer Mike Smith won his 17th Breeders' Cup race and second of the weekend, extending his record for wins among jockeys.
"She ran like a true champion to lose that much ground and still beat a field as talented as this," said trainer Mike Puype, who notched his first BC win. He gave Mizdirection a long rest to freshen her up.
Unbridled's Song, the 9-2 Turf Sprint favorite, returned $5.80 and $4.40. Reneesgotzip paid $7 to show.
Groupie Doll came through as the 3-5 favorite in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint, winning by 4 1/2 lengths. She ran 7 furlongs in 1:20.72 and paid $3.40 to win. Jockey Rajiv Maragh won his second BC of the weekend, having taken the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint on 15-1 shot Hightail on Friday.
In the Juvenile, Shanghai Bobby ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.58 and paid $4.60, $3.40 and $2.60. He's Had Enough returned $12.60 and $7.40 for trainer Doug O'Neill, jockey Mario Gutierrez and owner J. Paul Reddam, the same connections behind Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another.
"He ran very good, but we did get shut off twice on each turn," Gutierrez said.
Capo Bastone paid $5 to show.
Shanghai Bobby raced for the first time without Lasix, a diuretic that was banned by the Breeders' Cup from all 2-year-old races. He didn't arrive at Santa Anita until Wednesday after being stuck in New York because of Superstorm Sandy and he couldn't train for two days there because Belmont's track was closed.
The colt is owned by Starlight Racing and Ireland-based Coolmore Stud, which bought a half-interest in Shanghai Bobby before Monday's entry deadline.
Baffert's duo of Power Broker and Title Contender finished fifth and eighth, respectively.