Breeders' Cup Classic: Mucho Macho Man wins by a whisker

In a stretch duel that had the Santa Anita crowd of 58,795 screaming and on their feet, Mucho Macho Man held on by the tiniest of margins to win the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic. It was the kind of race that brings people back to racing.

It was expected to be a contest between the favored Game On Dude and Mucho Macho Man and the two engaged and went to the lead midway through the far turn. But Game On Dude did not have it on this day  and he drifted away from the lead horses to finish ninth.

After the race the crowd exhaled with every replay of the finish, as Will Take Charge kept gaining on the leader on the outside. Wedged in between was Declaration Of War, who was also close enough to be in the picture. Most of the crowd was hoping the 4-1 Mucho Macho Man would be declared the winner. The official margin was a nose, but it was closer. The margin over Declaration Of War was a neck.

It was a big win for jockey Gary Stevens, who won Friday's big race, the Distaff. And it was validation for trainer Kathy Ritvo, the first female trainer to win the Classic. Ritvo underwent a heart transplant a few years ago.

Mucho Macho Man paid $10, $4.60 and $3.60 with runner-up Will Take Charge returning $7.20 and $4.80. Declaration Of War paid $4.80 to show.



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