The 2012 Breeders' Cup kicks off on Friday night as the biggest horse racing event other than the Triple Crown.
With a stacked field in many races and two full days of action starting this afternoon, this is your guide to the weekend's action.
On Friday and Saturday, Santa Anita Park is the place to be in the horse racing world, but even if you can't make the trip to Los Angeles, you can follow along from home as everything goes down.
Where: Santa Anita Park, Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Friday November 2 through Saturday November 3
Watch: NBC/NBC Sports Network
Friday: Sunny, with a high of 78 degrees and zero percent chance of rain. (via Weather.com)
Saturday: Sunny, with a high of 86 degrees and zero percent chance of rain. (via Weather.com)
What's a horse race without a bit of weather drama?
It looks like the 2012 Breeders' Cup has even more drama than usual, and it has nothing to do with the forecast for the actual race.
Hurricane Sandy, which ripped through the East Coast and proceeded inland earlier this week, has also impacted the race.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News' Larry Stewart,13 horses from the East Coast had to yet to arrive as of Monday, 10 of which were from New York. This could be problematic, as there are certain car restrictions in place in New York City, which could eventually spread to the rest of the state.
As a result, the Breeders' Cup has been forced to alter its arrival rules, according to the Associated Press' Mike Farrell.
TV Schedule (via NBCSports.com)
|Nov. 2||Juvenile Sprint||4:06 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Marathon||4:48 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Juvenile Fillies Turf||5:28 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies||6:08 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Filly & Mare Turf||6:48 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 2||Ladies' Classic||7:30 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Juvenile Turf||2:50 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Filly & Mare Sprint||3:35 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Dirt Mile||4:14 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Turf Sprint||4:57 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Grey Goose Juvenile||5:36 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Turf||6:18 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Xpressbet Sprint||6:58 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Mile||7:40 p.m. ET||NBC Sports Network|
|Nov. 3||Breeders' Cup Classic||8:30 p.m. ET||NBC|
Top Races to Watch
The Ladies' Classic has a wide open field this year in which almost every single horse has a chance to win.
While I might give a slight edge to Royal Delta, there is no telling which horse will win, but it is almost guaranteed to be a close finish.
Breeders' Cup Classic
The $5 million purse Breeders' Cup Classic is the biggest reason to watch this weekend. Featuring a talented field with several horses in contention and the possibility for a photo-finish, this one will have quite a bit of drama.
Official Breeders' Cup Classic Starters/Post Draw
|1||Pool Play||Miguel Mena||30-1|
|2||Flat Out||Joel Rosario||5-1|
|4||Fort Larned||Brian Hernandez Jr.||5-1|
|5||Game on Dude||Rafael Bejarano||9-5|
|6||Brilliant Speed||Junior Alvarado||20-1|
|7||Handsome Mike||Mario Gutierrez||30-1|
|9||Richard's Kid||Garrett Gomez||12-1|
|10||Ron the Greek||Jose Lezcano||6-1|
|11||Mucho Macho Man||Mike Smith||8-1|
|12||To Honor and Serve||John Velazquez||8-1|
Horses to Watch
Game On Dude
After finishing second in this race last year, Game On Dude has to be considered the favorite this year. He is unbeaten in five starts on this track, and has been killing it in his workouts.
The only question surrounding Game On Dude is whether or not he can handle the distance, but I'm confident that he can.
The reason Handsome Mike is in this spot is not because he is a favorite (his 30-1 odds indicate that), but because of who is riding him.
Mario Gutierrez is the man who rode I'll Have Another to victory in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and he'll be looking to take another relatively unknown horse to glory.
Mucho Macho Man
One of the fastest horses in the world, Mucho Macho Man can win any race on any given day. He is very inconsistent, however, and is one of the question marks heading into Saturday's race.
He has been tearing it up as of late, and coming off a layoff is a huge benefit. He appears to be peaking at the right time, which could lead to him finishing in the winner's circle.
Prediction: Game On Dude wins
It's not a very sexy pick, but I have to go with the favorite here. He is simply too good at Santa Anita, and if his recent times are any indication of what he will do on Saturday, he should definitely win this race.
If he does win, he could also take home Horse of the Year honors—if he wins by a big enough margin, he should be a lock.