10/28/2013 8:26PM

Breeders' Cup Classic: Game On Dude gets comfortable post

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Barbara D. Livingston
Game On Dude drew post nine in a field of 12 for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

ARCADIA, Calif. –  After a morning that went ideally for Game On Dude with his final workout, co-owner  Bernie Schiappa anxiously awaited the draw on Monday afternoon for the post positions for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. There was an audible sigh of relief from him when Game On Dude landed post 9 in the field of 12 for the Classic on Saturday at Santa Anita.

Game On Dude has a tendency to break a half-step slow, so an inside draw, in a large field, might have been problematic. From post 9, Game On Dude will be in the clear. He still, however, has to be good enough.

Game On Dude flopped as the favorite in last year’s Classic, and four horses who finished in front of him that day are back for another go-round this year. But because Game On Dude has not lost since last year’s Classic, he is the favorite again.

[BREEDERS’ CUP 2013: Fields with DRF odds and comments]

Fort Larned, last year’s winner of the Classic, ended up in post 7, and with Palace Malice, one of the leading 3-year-olds in the country, in post 8.

One of the first posts to be pulled during the double-blind draw was 1. Waiting for the name assigned to that post, “I almost threw up,” Schiappa said. It went to Last Gunfighter.

From the rail out, the field is Last Gunfighter, Paynter, Planteur, Moreno, Declaration of War, Mucho Macho Man, Fort Larned, Palace Malice, Game On Dude, Will Take Charge, Ron the Greek, and Flat Out.

The Classic is the last of 14 Breeders’ Cup races that will be run Friday and Saturday. Five of the races, highlighted by the Distaff, are on Friday, with nine more on Saturday. Total purses for the 14 races is $25 million.

There were 162 horses entered in the 14 races on Monday. Only one race, the Dirt Mile, drew more than the maximum number of horses allowed for that race. With that field limited to 12 runners, Easter Gift was placed on the also-eligible list, in post 13. The only way he can get in is if there is a defection from the 12 in the main body of the race by 8 a..m. Pacific time Friday, which is scratch time for all 14 Breeders’ Cup races.

There were 172 entries in 2010, the last time there were 14 Breeders’ Cup races. There were 15 races in both 2011 and 2012, but the Juvenile Sprint, added for those two years, has been dropped.

The Distaff has the smallest field, with six. There are full fields of 14 in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Turf Sprint, and Juvenile. Most of the fields number between 10 and 12 runners.

The draw was significant in at least three races, with well-regarded runners landing poor posts. Verrazano (post 10) and Goldencents (12) are marooned outside in the 12-horse Dirt Mile, which has a run of a little more than 110 yards to the first turn.

Testa Rossi, Sky Painter, and My Conquestadory drew posts 12 through 14, in that order, in the 14-horse Juvenile Fillies Turf, at one mile. Because the turf course is inside the main track, there is a longer run to the first turn in a one-mile grass race than a one-mile dirt race, but it’s a bigger field and the runners are less experienced.

Havana and Strong Mandate landed posts 13 and 14 in the 14-horse Juvenile, at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

There are eight BC winners from 2012 back this year – Beholder, Fort Larned, Groupie Doll, Little Mike, Mizdirection, Trinniberg, Wise Dan, and Royal Delta, who also won in 2011. Another horse, Secret Circle, won the Juvenile Sprint in 2011.

In order of the way the races will be run, here are the early favorites in each race, according to Daily Racing Form handicappers, and Jon White of Santa Anita:

Friday:

Marathon – Worldly (4-1, DRF’s Brad Free), and Ever Rider (7-2, White)

Juvenile Turf – Bobby’s Kitten (5-2, both Free and White)

Dirt Mile – Goldencents (3-1, Free), and Verrazano (3-1, White)

Juvenile Fillies Turf – Clenor (4-1, Free), and Vorda (4-1, White)

Distaff – Royal Delta (9-5, Free; 8-5, White)

Saturday:

Juvenile Fillies – Sweet Reason (5-2, both DRF’s Mike Watchmaker and White)

Filly and Mare Turf – Dank (9-5, Watchmaker; 5-2, White)

Filly and Mare Sprint – Groupie Doll (5-2, both Watchmaker and White)

Turf Sprint – Mizdirection (9-2, Watchmaker; 4-1, White)

Juvenile – Havana (5-2, both Watchmaker and White)

Turf – The Fugue (4-1, Watchmaker; 3-1, White)

Sprint – Private Zone (3-1, both Watchmaker and White)

Mile – Wise Dan (7-5, Watchmaker; 1-1, White)

Classic – Game On Dude (2-1, Watchmaker, and 8-5, White)

Breeders' Cup Classic

Purse: $5 million; 1 1/4 miles; Grade 1

PP, Horse, Jockey, morning-line odds

1. Last Gunfighter (J. Castellano), 20-1

2. Paynter (M. Garcia), 12-1

3. Planteur (R. Moore), 20-1

4. Moreno (J. Talamo), 15-1

5. Declaration of War (J. O'Brien), 10-1

6. Mucho Macho Man (G. Stevens), 5-1

7. Fort Larned (B. Hernandez), 6-1

8. Palace Malice (J. Velazquez), 10-1

9. Game On Dude (M. Smith), 8-5

10. Will Take Charge (L. Saez), 12-1

11. Ron the Greek (J. Lezcano), 8-1

12. Flat Out (J. Rosario), 12-1

Post time: Saturday, 8:35 p.m. Eastern