Bob Baffert’s California-based Game On Dude was the favorite to win the $5,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic, the finale on the card. However, it was another set of Kentucky connections that would spring the upset and take home victory.
Trainer Ian Wilkes, who trains at Skylight Training Center in Oldham County and is stabled at Churchill Downs, saddled Classic winner Fort Larned. Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., who won the Ack Ack (G3) at Churchill Downs on Friday, hopped a flight to California Saturday to ride Fort Larned in the Classic. Saturday was Hernandez's 27th birthday and the Classic was the only Breeders’ Cup mount he had. Hernandez was back at Churchill Downs Sunday morning to ride the day’s card.
With the flight cancelations and delays brought on in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, it was uncertain whether several Breeders’ Cup contenders would even make it to the big dance, let alone win. A flight scheduled to leave Monday from New York and make a pick-up stop in Kentucky before heading to California was delayed until Wednesday. The flight included Shanghai Bobby, Wise Dan, and Fort Larned.
Photo: Breeders’ Cup