ARCADIA, Calif., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Mucho Macho Man held on gamely in the final strides Saturday to win the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic by a nose.
Will Take Charge was second and Irish runner Declaration of War wrote another entry in trainer Aidan O'Brien's hard-luck Classic anthology with a close third-place showing.
Trainer Bob Baffert also continued his tale of woe in the race as neither post-time favorite Game On Dude nor Paynter figured in the late running. Game On Dude finished ninth.
Last year's winner, Fort Larned, faded from contention in the final furlong but held on for fourth with long shot Last Gunfighter getting home fifth.
The 30th renewal of the 1 1/4-miles Classic went in 2:00.72 in front of a sun-drenched crowd of 58,795 at Santa Anita.
Mucho Macho Man, a 5-year-old son of Macho Uno, was ridden by Gary Stevens, who returned to riding early this year after a long retirement devoted to television and movie work.
Mucho Macho Man finished second to Fort Larned in last year's Classic, beaten just a half length, and trainer Kathy Ritvo devoted the intervening year to reversing that finish. She started the horse only four times previously this year -- an aborted attempt at Gulfstream Park where he was pulled up in the Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream Park and a pair of third-place finishes in New York before he won the Grade I Awesome Again over the Santa Anita track on Sept. 28.
He now has eight wins from 23 career starts.
In other races on Saturday's Breeders' Cup card:
Wise Dan rallied late to nip Za Approval in the $2 million Mile over the turf course. It was the second straight win in the Turf for the reigning U.S. Horse of the year and boosted his chances to repeat that honor.
Irish-based 3-year-old Magician put in a huge run late in the $3 million Turf, defeating The Fugue and Indy Point in a sweep for the foreign horses in the 1 1/2-mile event.
Secret Circle, in his second race off a long layoff, captured the $1.5 million Sprint, holding off Laugh Track in the final strides. Gentlemen's Bet was third at a big price.
New Year's Day found room on the inside in the stretch run of the $2 million Juvenile and got through to win by 1 1/4 lengths over the heavy favorite, Havana.
Mizdirection won the $1 million Turf Sprint for the second straight year, with Reneesgotzip and Tightend Touchdown dead-heating for second and third. Mizdirection is to be sold later this month at Keeneland.
Groupie Doll scored her second straight win in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint, edging Judy the Beauty. Like Mizdirection, Groupie Doll will be sold at Keeneland.
British import Dank backed up her victory in the Grade I Beverly D. at Arlington with a victory in the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf. Romantica was second and Alterite third in a sweep for horses who started the year in Europe.
Ria Antonia, a 32-1 long shot, took the $2 million Juvenile Fillies on a disqualification after being bumped in deep stretch by the apparent winner, She's a Tiger. Rosalind finished third.