Fort Larned Wins Final Classic Prep

Category : News - Sun 29/09/2013 - 17:16 EDT

He got in the race he wanted, and now it looks like Fort Larned is all tuned up and ready to defend his Breeders’ Cup Classic crown. On Saturday at Churchill Downs in the inaugural Homecoming Classic Stakes, Fort Larned took five others gate-to-wire over 1 ¼ miles and won easily in his final prep race before the Breeders’ Cup on November 1-2 at Santa Anita. While some of his biggest rivals were engaged in tougher races elsewhere on Saturday, the Homecoming was seen as a chance for Fort Larned to get a race under his belt for the first time since early August.

Result never in doubt from the break

After being scratched out of his previous start in the Travers Stakes due to minor injury, Fort Larned went into the Homecoming gate as the overwhelming 1-5 favorite. Breaking quickly, he charged up the number two path to take control early, and had opened up a six-length lead through an honest 47.2  first half mile. Turning for home, the first challenge loomed in Worldy, but Fort Larned quickened his stride and then bore down in the last furlong to hold off a hard-charging Windswept by a comfortable two lengths.

Form still a mystery heading into the Classic

It has been an up-and-down season for Fort Larned. Although he won the Grade I Stephen Foster, he also finished fifth in two events, and was given a DNF when he stumbled out of the gate and lost jockey Brian Hernandez in the Gulfstream Park Handicap in his first race of 2013.  He’ll now take his front-running style back to Santa Anita for the Classic, where in 2012 he upset the field at 9-1. He’ll likely face some of the same rivals from last year, including Mucho Macho Man who he beat by a diminishing half-length a year ago.

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