(Reuters) - Game on Dude was installed as the early 9-5 favorite and will break from the fifth post for the $5 Million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park on Saturday.
The Bob Baffert-trained gelding was leading the race a year ago but was caught by a high-flying Drosselmeyer in the final strides at Churchill Downs and finished second.
In other Breeders’ Cup positions determined Monday, Royal Delta will try to defend her title in the $2 million Ladies’ Classic, breaking from the six hole as the morning line 9-5 favorite.
In the $3 million Turf, Point of Entry will break from the inside one spot as the 3-1 choice, with Aidan O‘Brien-trained St Nicholas Abbey, who won the race in 2011, the second choice at 7-2 from the third post.
The Breeders’ Cup, a 15-race event worth a total of more than $25 million, will be run on Friday and Saturday and hosted by Santa Anita for the sixth time. There are six races on Friday and nine on Saturday.
Unbeaten in four career starts, Todd Pletcher-trained Shanghai Bobby is the top choice in the Juvenile at 2-1, the Harlan’s Holiday colt having won at distances ranging from four and a half furlongs to a mile in the Champagne Stakes.
Rosie Napravnik will be in the saddle for the $2 million race and will open from the four hole in the nine-horse field.
Unlike in most years where there is a consensus favorite for the Classic, this year’s race looks to be a wide-open affair with nine Grade I winners in the 12-horse field.
A son of Awesome Again, Game On Dude, a perfect five-for-five at Santa Anita, headlines a strong field of 10 Breeders’ Cup horses trained by the Hall of Famer Baffert.
Rafael Bejarano rode Game On Dude for the first time in easily winning the 1 1/8 miles Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita in late September and will be in the silks on Saturday.
He replaces Chantal Sutherland, who rode the colt in the 2011 Classic.
Two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Flat Out, trained by Bill Mott, will break from the second post, and is the co-second choice at 5-1 along with Whitney Stakes champion Fort Larned, who will start two spots over from Flat Out at number four.
Santa Anita Handicap winner Ron the Greek was made the 6-1 third choice.
Editing by Nick Mulvenney