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9-1 shot Fort Larned wins BC Classic in upset

Sunday - 11/4/2012, 12:07pm  ET

Brian Hernandez atop Fort Larned, reacts as he crosses the finish line ahead of Mucho Macho Man with Mike Smith atop to win the running of the Breeders' Cup Classic horse race, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

BETH HARRIS
AP Racing Writer

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) -- Bob Baffert got beat again in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic. Bill Mott settled for half of a repeat sweep in the weekend's two biggest races.

The Hall of Fame trainers could only wince as 9-1 long shot Fort Larned won North America's richest race on Saturday night, capping a weekend of upsets in the world championships at Santa Anita.

Fort Larned ran the race of his life, leading all the way to win by a half-length over Mucho Macho Man.

The highly anticipated Classic was strictly a two-horse race to the finish in front of 55,123.

Game On Dude, the 7-5 favorite, ran what Baffert said was "probably the worst race of his life" in finishing seventh. He lost in the closing strides a year ago at Churchill Downs.

Mott's trio of Flat Out (third), Ron the Greek (fourth) and To Honor and Serve (10th) came up short.

"I don't think we have any huge excuse," he said.

Mott, unlike Baffert, didn't leave empty-handed. Royal Delta successfully defended her title in the $2 million Ladies' Classic on Friday as one of only four favorites to win in 15 races over two days.

After Tony Bennett sang "The Best Is Yet to Come" as the horses were led onto the track, the spotlight belonged to an unheralded entry named for an old post in Kansas that protected the Santa Fe Trail, a jockey who rides in racing's minor leagues, and a low-profile trainer.

"The prestige of winning this race in front of the world is unbelievable," jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. said.

He celebrated his 27th birthday with the biggest victory of his career. Trainer Ian Wilkes could say the same.

"Fort Larned just gave us the greatest birthday present ever," said Hernandez, the leading rider this year at Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs.

Fort Larned ran 1
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