01/09/2013 3:23PM

Gulfstream Park Handicap the 2013 starting point for Fort Larned

Susie Raisher
Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned will begin his 2013 campaign on March 9.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Fort Larned, an Eclipse Award finalist in two categories including for Horse of the Year, will launch his 2013 campaign in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 9, trainer Ian Wilkes reported on Tuesday.

Fort Larned capped off his campaign with a game half-length decision over Mucho Macho Man in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He also won the Grade 1 Whitney earlier that summer at Saratoga. Fort Larned won his only local start here last season when he rallied from just off the pace to upset the Grade 3 Skip Away.

“He’s done very well since the Breeders’ Cup,” Wilkes said. “He’s been galloping right along and I’ll start breezing him shortly. I’ll probably start doing something with him in about a week or 10 days. Right now the Gulfstream Park Handicap is what I’m pointing for.” 

The Gulfstream Park Handicap, which will be decided at a mile, was won by Mucho Macho Man in 2012. Mucho Macho Man will kick off his season a week from Saturday in defense of his title in the Sunshine Millions Classic.

Mucho Macho Man is one of 17 Florida-breds nominated to the Classic, along with last year’s runner-up, Ron the Greek, and his stablemate Flat Out. Other prominent names on the list include Jeranimo, Fort Loudon, and Duke of Mischief.