Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Mucho Macho Man, second last year, took the lead at the top of stretch and held off Will Take Charge to capture the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic to conclude the 30th World Championships at Santa Anita Park.
The 2013 Breeders' Cup offered several opportunities for horses to repeat in their championship races, including the Classic, and three took advantage.
However, in the Classic, defending winner Fort Larned could not avail himself of that chance. Neither could last year's favorite Game On Dude, making his third start in the race.
Game On Dude, trained by Bob Baffert, was sent off as the 17-10 favorite in the 11-horse field for the 1 1/4-mile stakes. Mucho Macho Man, who lost by a half-length in 2012, was the 4-1 second pick.
Game On Dude was right on the pace with 2012 champ Fort Larned and Travers runner-up Moreno.
Coming out of the final turn, Mucho Macho Man took the lead with 6-1 third choice Declaration of War on his inside along with Fort Larned. Game On Dude, ridden by Mike Smith, dropped out of contention entering the stretch.
Mucho Macho Man, with Gary Stevens in the saddle, drove through the stretch as Declaration of War and Travers winner Will Take Charge surged toward the leader.
Owned by Reeves Thoroughbreds, Mucho Macho Man put his nose on the wire ahead of Will Take Charge followed by Declaration of War.
"I really thought he got him," said Dean Reeves thinking his horse had lost.
Finishing fourth was Fort Larned followed by Last Gunfighter, Palace Malice, Paynter, Flat Out, Game On Dude, Moreno and Planteur. Ron the Greek was scratched with an injury.
Mucho Macho Man covered the Classic on a fast track in 2:00.72.
"He ran fantastic," trainer Kathy Ritvo said.
Mucho Macho Man earned $2.7 million to more than double his bankroll to $5.3 million. The 5-year-old has won eight of 23 lifetime starts.
Mucho Macho Man returned $10.00, $4.60 and $3.60. Will Take Charge paid $7.20 and $4.80, and Declaration of War paid $4.80 to show.
Immediately preceding the Classic, reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan made a successful defense of his 2012 victory in the $2 million Mile.
Ridden by Jose Lezcano for the injured John Velazquez, Wise Dan came charging between horses down the stretch to register a three-quarters length win over 18-1 longshot Za Approval.
Finishing third was 31-1 outsider Silentio followed by Silver Max, early pacesetter Obviously, No Jet Lag, Cristoforo Colombo, He Be Fire N Ice, Olympic Glory and Bright Thought.
Wise Dan, trained by Charles LoPresti, went off as the 4-5 favorite in the 10-horse field and stopped the timer at 1:32.47 on a firm course.
The 6-year-old added $1.1 million to his bankroll. Wise Dan has won 19-of-27 career starts for $6.3 million. He has won six of seven this year and 11 of his last 13 starts.
Wise Dan returned $3.60, $2.80 and $2.20. Za Approval paid $8.40 and $5.80, and Silentio paid $9.00 to show.
The nine championship races began with longshot Ria Antonia being declared the winner of the $2 million Juvenile Fillies after She's A Tiger was disqualified.
Trained by Jeremiah Englehart and ridden by Javier Castellano, Ria Antonia, a 32-1 longshot in the 10-horse field, caught the front runner She's A Tiger coming to the wire in the 1 1/16-mile race.
She's A Tiger came out to bump Ria Antonia nearing the finish and put her nose on the wire first. Rosalind finished third and 5-2 favorite Sweet Reason was fourth.