Breeders' Cup Classic 2012: Final Grades for Fort Larned and Other Top Horses

Nicholas GossCorrespondent INovember 5, 2012

ARCADIA, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. atop Fort Larned (R) finishes ahead of jockey Mike Smith atop Mucho Macho Man to win the Breeders' Cup Classic Race during the 2012 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park on November 3, 2012 in Arcadia, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic is a high-pressure race where everyone involved is facing high expectations, and for a few lucky trainers, the performance from their horse was something to be proud of.

Unfortunately, for many people associated with the horses that were expected to dominate in this year's race, it wasn't a day to remember.

Let's look at the final grades for some of the top horses who ran in the latest chapter of the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Fort Larned

As the winner of the $5 million first-place prize, there's no question that Fort Larned deserves a perfect grade for his performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Fort Larned was an underdog heading into the race, but as I mentioned in my article from Sunday, anyone who looked at his win-loss record from 2012 would have seen that this horse had a shot to produce an upset in this race.

Fort Larned was able to narrowly hold off a late-race push by Mucho Macho Man to take the Breeders' Cup crown, and displayed all the talent that helped make him one of this year's most successful horses.

Final Grade: A+

Game on Dude

Unfortunately for great trainer Bob Baffert, Game on Dude was one of the biggest disappointments in this race, because many people had picked this supremely talented horse to finish first, but he ended up placing seventh.

Game on Dude came into this race with four victories in his six races in 2012, so anyone placing a bet on Saturday would have likely picked this horse to win.

Instead, Game on Dude underperformed like Baffert's horse Bodemeister did at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes earlier in the year.

No one would have expected that Game on Dude would finish in seventh place, but he just didn't run a good race from start to finish. Game on Dude's performance was a surprise to anyone who has followed his career over the last two years.

Final Grade: D

Mucho Macho Man

Mucho Macho Man was another horse that came into the Breeders' Cup Classic with high expectations, and even though he didn't win the race, his trainer and owner shouldn't be upset about a solid second-place finish.

This spectacular horse hasn't finished worse than third in any race this season and will conclude a very successful 2012 with three victories, unless he participates in another race in the next few weeks.

This was the best season of Mucho Macho Man's young career, and his performance at the Breeders' Cup wasn't anything to be disappointed about.

Mucho Macho Man wasn't able to accomplish his main goal, and unfortunately for him, he competed against an opponent in Fort Larned who ran a near-perfect race.

Final Grade: B