Rees: Classic strategy pays off for trainer Ian Wilkes

by | 11.06.2012 | 8:10am
Brian Hernandez Jr. accepts congratulations from trainer Ian Wilkes for Fort Larned's BC Classic win

On the morning after Fort Larned captured the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), trainer Ian Wilkes was still somewhat in a state of disbelief.

In an interview with Jennie Rees of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Wilkes called the experience “very humbling. I don't think it's sunk in, I don't think it will sink in for awhile.”

Wilkes mentioned that he thought Game On Dude might be vulnerable at the 1 1/4-mile distance, and also that the track was playing a bit fast. He instructed jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. to keep Fort Larned close to the lead as a result.

At some point, Wilkes said that he and owner Janis Whitham will get together and plot out a plan for Fort Larned for 2013, with a return to Santa Anita and the Classic as the end goal. He also mentioned the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), a race where he finished eighth in this year. “One race I would like to run in is the Stephen Foster,” he said. “I really want to do better than he did this year.”

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