Fort Larned solidified his status as one of the nation’s best horses with his hard fought triumph in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park. The bay colt took the lead at the start but had to fend off rivals throughout to win by a half length. Fort Larned was rewarded with a winter vacation before returning to action in a most unusual way in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) in March.
When the starting gate opened, Fort Larned stumbled to the ground and his jockey, Brian Hernandez, tumbled off. Fort Larned scrambled to his feet and instinctively followed the other horses. He quickly scampered to the front, but unseated his rider Brian Hernandez. Fort Larned raced again the following month and was back in the winner’s circle in June, dominating the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Fort Larned, whose grandmother is two-time Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Bayakoa, dabbled with turf racing before proving his talent on dirt in 2012. Four weeks after winning a stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, he climbed the class ladder to win the Skip Away Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on March 31, 2012. In August, he finished fifth as the favorite in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.