Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned was assigned high weight of 124 pounds for his first of 2013 in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) March 9 in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Trainer Ian Wilkes said he fully expected the top impost for the return to racing of the 5-year-old son of E Dubai . Fort Larned would be spotting from six to 11 pounds to the horses confirmed for the one-turn mile event.
"It's fine," said Wilkes on the morning of March 3. "I have no complaints."
Fort Larned, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park in a one-turn mile race in 2011, registered his first graded stakes victory in the Skip Away (gr. III) last year at Gulfstream. The Janis R. Whitham homebred also captured the Whitney Invitational (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course, as well as the Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows prior to his victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park Nov. 3.
Fort Larned is scheduled to breeze five furlongs March 4 for his final serious prep for the Gulfstream Park Handicap. The bay horse has been breezing on a weekly basis since mid-January.
He is slated to carry six pounds more than Fort Loudon, the winner of the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (gr. III) Feb. 9.
"He's a big, strong horse," Wilkes said. "So I'm fine with it."
Fort Larned, an Eclipse Award finalist as top older male last year, begins his new campaign with a career mark of 8-2-1 in 19 races and earnings of $3,681,236.