Classic Cliffhanger: Can Fort Larned Retain the Championship?
Rematch! Last year's Breeders' Cup Classic champ now returns to take on the horse that came in second, but watch out: One top expert says a different horse may cross the finish line first on Nov. 2.
"Last year Fort Larned went wire to wire, went out in front early and never stopped," recalls Peter Rotondo, Breeders' Cup VP of Media and Entertainment. "He's had some great races this year. Mucho Macho Man ran second last year. Now he'll be back and he's in great shape."
The duo will compete against the Game On Dude, who is the actually favorite among many experts, but beware. "He was the favorite last year, but had a bad break out of the gate," Rotondo says. All in all the current Classic is "going to be one of the competitive races ever," he adds.
What's the best way to handicap the race and decide which horse will prevail?
"It's a big puzzle and we're all here to figure it out," Rotondo adds. " Open up the Daily Racing Form and learn how to read it. It's all about past performances just like life in general. You're trying to figure out the pace scenario. Pace makes the race, as the old slogan goes. How fast the race is going to be run early on is really going to determine who's going to win. The slower it is in the beginning, the horses in the lead will win. Faster in the beginning, then horses come from behind. You have to decide what the set-up will be, then you make your decision. At least for me. Everyone has a different way of doing it."
BELOW: Watch our full chat with Peter Rotondo and see video of last year's race with Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man out front. See video of that dramatic race in our Overview Section.
— Tom O'Neil
PETER ROTONDO: BREEDERS' CUP VP OF MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT — What makes the Classic so great? Why is Santa Anita Park the perfect setting? Which horses are the early faves to win on Nov. 2?