2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders: Game On Dude Remains Early Favorite

Game On Dude

Game On Dude is the early favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic

The Bob Baffert trained Game On Dude continues to be the early betting favorite for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The five year old gelding, who has won four of his six starts this year, can be found online at odds that are ranging from +225 to +250.

As of last week the Breeders’ Cup 2012 Classic Future Book Odds from Wynn Las Vegas, the gelding was listed as the 2-1 betting favorite.

On Wynn’s list after Game On Dude it is a wide open betting race, with four other runners listed at less than 10/1 odds: Alpha (8-1), Animal Kingdom (7-1), Flat Out (6-1), and Mucho Macho Man (8-1).

Graham Motion, the trainer of Animal Kingdom said the colt would be making his next start in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and not the Classic.

Here is a look at the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic Contenders:

Check Bovada for the latest Breeders’ Cup Classic Future Odds.

Game On Dude

The Baffert trainee was second in the Classic last year, and things went “awesome” last out with his new jockey Rafael Bejarano. The gelding won the Awesome Again (G1) over the Santa Anita main track, and goes into the Classic undefeated in five starts over the surface. He set all of the fractions last year at Churchill Downs before getting overtaken late by the late running Drosselmeyer. The gelding has shown in his starts this year that he does not need the lead, which may come in handy if there is a fast pace in the race. Having the home field advantage is certainly an asset, but if this race draws a big field, the 2-1 odds are going to look light.

Flat Out

This guy was the beaten favorite in last year’s Classic, checking in a disappointing fifth, beaten three lengths for the top spot. He comes into this year’s race just like last year, taking the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park. His win last out snapped a six race losing streak and was his first win in three starts since going from the Scooter Dickey barn to hall of famer Bill Mott.  The six-year-old was supposed to have a morning work on Sunday but foot issues have postponed that work until at least Monday as Mott plans on having him reshod with a new pair of shoes.

Ron the Greek

Mott will also saddle this five-year-old, who checked in sixth last out in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He is a two time Grade 1 winner this year, taking the Santa Anita Handicap and the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. Mott said his runner did not like the racing surface at Belmont Park, leading to his subpar performance. It’s logical this guy should bounce back with the switch back to Santa Anita

Fort Larned

The Ian Wilkes trainee was the beaten favorite in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, checking in third and beaten 5 ½ lengths.  Wilkes was optimistic after the race, happy with the colt’s performance despite picking up a loss. He had won his two previous starts, taking the Cornhusker Handicap (G3) at Prairie Meadows, and then pulling off a minor upset in the Whitney Handicap (G1) at Saratoga at 7-1 over Flat Out and Ron the Greek. Wilkes is not a well known trainer but is more than capable and was a long time assistant to Carl Nafzger.

Mucho Macho Man

Since coming up short in all three Triple Crown races last year, this guy has won four of six starts including the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) and the Suburban (G2). He does not have a Grade 1 win on his resume, but he just missed getting it last out when coming up a neck short to To Honor and Serve in the Woodward (G1) at Saratoga. His trainer Kathy Ritvo was pointing him toward the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but instead will bring him into the Classic off a two month break.

Richard’s Kid

This guy has been busy this year, making eight starts and through a private purchase went from the Baffert barn over to Doug O’Neill. His last start was a third in the Awesome Again behind Game On Dude, making a mild late rally over a surface that was kind to speed.  He started off the year by losing three in a row in Dubai but his form certainly has improved since coming back to the U.S.

Stay Thirsty

I had pretty much written off last year’s Travers (G1) winner as he had lost five in a row coming into the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but he really put in a solid effort, battling on gamely in the stretch and was beaten just a head to Flat Out. I’m wondering if the Dirt Mile (G1) might be the race for this guy, and his connections have not made a final decision between the Classic, Dirt Mile, or perhaps going to the Cigar Mile (G1) on Nov. 24. Despite the high profile connections he figures to be a decent price if he goes in the Classic.

To Honor and Serve

Another Mott runner, this guy was my top pick in last year’s Classic, and unfortunately I picked the wrong runner from the hall of fame barn. He did not have the best of trips and weakened to finish seventh although he was only beaten 3 ½ lengths. He won the Woodward (G1) two back and Mott wanted to get another race into him so he started as the chalk in the Kelso (G2) going a mile where he ran fourth. Mott is moving on to the Classic despite the dull effort last out, and this is going to be one to watch and see how he works leading up to the race.  His subpar effort last out will certainly help his odds.


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