03/06/2013 2:22PM

Game On Dude

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GAME ON DUDE became the fourth horse to win the prestigious Santa Anita Handicap twice with an authoritative romp in the meet's biggest race. 

Utilizing his customary early speed, Game On Dude burst to a clear early lead under jockey Mike Smith, coasted along through fractions of 23.64, 47.19 and 1:10.97 and never was threatened in the stretch.  He finished the 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.14 and received a whopping 116 Beyer Speed Figure, a number identical to the "fig" Game On Dude earned in his seasonal debut, the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes on February 2.

Give a good horse an easy lead and he'll be very tough to catch.  Game On Dude loomed the controlling speed on paper in the 'Big Cap and it played out that way on the track. 

"The thing about ‘Dude,’ he’s got to go along at a fast clip," said winning trainer Bob Baffert. “I was waiting to see what was going to happen. Mike didn’t see anybody going, so he just took the lead. He was going to cruise right along there (anyway). If you go with him, you’re not going to get anything. He likes competition, and he was still going pretty fast."

"He’s learned how to breathe, he really has," mentioned Smith. "If you sit real still on him, when he is switching leads, you can feel him do it. He takes in a whole lot of air, and once he does that, I feel like I’m loaded again, like I could do whatever I want at that point. He sometimes does it on the backstretch, sometimes on the turn. Today, it was on the turn. Whenever he saw horses run up on him, and get within a length of him, right in there he did it."

Baffert mentioned the $1,000,000 Charles Town Classic on April 20 as a possible next destination for Game On Dude, who joined John Henry (1981 & ’82), Milwaukee Brew (2002 & ’03), and Lava Man (2006 & ’07) as two-time winners of the Big 'Cap.

Credit must be given to trainer Craig Lewis, who has Big 'Cap runner-up CLUBHOUSE RIDE in career form.  While not in Game On Dude's league, just yet, the $22,000 purchase made a good run on the turn before barely outfinishing Called to Serve for the place spot.   The Charles Town Classic could be on his calendar as well.

*In an age when top horses are campaigned sparingly, trainer Peter Miller aggressively shipped COMMA TO THE TOP 3,000 miles for the Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap, only one week after the gelding ran a gut-wrenching third in the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita. In the Tom Fool, Comma to the Top made the early lead under Joel Rosario, faced some pressure from HEAD HEART HOOF and re-rallied in the stretch to deny SATURDAY'S CHARM, an in-form 4-year-old that surged to the front in midstretch.  Saturday's Charm seemed to hang a bit, but one can't deny Comma to the Top's heart and class.  He may return to Aqueduct for the Grade 1 Carter Handicap.

*Making his first start since a runner-up effort in a $62,500 maiden claimer over the Betfair Hollywood cushion track on May 20, 2012, 4-year-old OLIVER'S TALE exploded to win a maiden special weight going 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita with a 104 Beyer.  A homebred racing for MT Racing Stables and trainer Mark Tsagalakis, Oliver's Tale is by E. Dubai out of an unraced half-sister to Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Kona Gold.

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You can find the latest "Under the Radar" column here (please note that DEPARTING's connections are also considering the Rebel Stakes for his next start).

http://www.drf.com/news/kentucky-derby-under-radar-departing

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Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures (2/25/13 - 3/3/13):

1. GAME ON DUDE - 116 - Santa Anita Handicap (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - Santa Anita
2. OLIVER'S TALE - 104 - Md Sp Wt 56k - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Santa Anita
3. BERNIE THE MAESTRO - 103 - Alw 16000s - 1 1/16 Miles - Gulfstream
4. FLASHPOINT - 101 - Sam Houston Sprint Cup Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Sam Houston
5. AWESOME SYMMETRY - 100 - OC 40k/N$Y - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
6. KOH I NOOR - 99 - OC 32k/N3X -N - 1 Mile - Laurel
7. DEPARTING - 97 - Texas Heritage Stakes - 1 Mile - Sam Houston
7. WILLYCONKER (Ire.) - 97 - OC 80k/N3X - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
9. CLEARLY NOW - 96 - Swale Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs - Gulfstream
9. MEL'S GAME - 96 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 7 Furlongs - Santa Anita
9. PERCUSSION - 96 - OC 50k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
12. BEHOLDER - 95 - Las Virgenes Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile - Santa Anita
12. COMMA TO THE TOP - 95 - Tom Fool Handicap (G3) - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
12. STOLEN CHEVY - 95 - Alw 5000s - 6 Furlongs - Laurel
15. CHANNELING - 94 - Clm 30000(30-25) - 1 1/16 Miles - Oaklawn
15. MASTER RICK - 94 - OC 32k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Oaklawn
17. MAJESTIC HARBOR - 93 - OC 62k/C -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Fair Grounds
17. POWER FOOT - 93 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
17. SMART ELLIS - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Santa Anita
17. SUMMER APPLAUSE - 93 - Top Flight Handicap (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
17. VYJACK - 93 - Gotham Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
20. FLYING ZEALOUS - 92 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - Aqueduct
20. NORTHSCAPE - 92 - Alw 33600N$Y - 6 Furlongs - Hawthorne
20. PICKO'S PRIDE - 92 - OC 65k/N1Y -N - 6 Furlongs - Oaklawn
20. SUGGESTIVE BOY (Arg.) - 92 - Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Santa Anita
23. BAUERS GOT HOURS - 91 - OC 40k/N2X - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Fair Grounds
23. COOLUSIVE - 91 - Md 50000(50-45) - 6 Furlongs - Gulfstream
23. BIG BLUE KITTEN - 91 - OC 100k/C -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Gulfstream
23. FUSAICHISWONDERFUL - 91 - Primal Force Stakes - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Gulfstream
23. LUBANGO - 91 - OC c-25k/N2X - 1 Mile - Parx
23. SAME CROSS - 91 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs - Fair Grounds

*GAME ON DUDE's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*LUBANGO was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Ramon Preciado from Michael Pino.

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Congrats to BORNSTAR75 for finishing first in last week's HandiGambling exercise. 

PENN NATIONAL RICK'S WEEKLY SCORESHEET IS AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

Let's go with Friday's ninth race at Gulfstream for this week's contest.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan."
 
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.
 
Please post your plays and analysis to the blog.

PLEASE GIVE YOUR NAME OR BLOG MONIKER AT THE END OF THE HG PLAY AND/OR ANALYSIS.
 
Please separate the play from the analysis and label the play "HG" with the program numbers (instead of the horse's name) for easier scoring.
In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please.
 
I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.
 
I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are. I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

***FROM SCOREKEEPER PENN NATIONAL RICK***

I read some entries on here and there are some people who put their heart out on their picks(such as DavidM9999) and give you great analysis on who they like and why and then there are others who elect not to give any reasoning behind their entries. The rule I will implement EFFECTIVE 3/1/13 will be... any entry without ANY analysis will be ignored. We are not asking you to put out a novel, but again a sentence or two. Also, I will put communication out when Dan puts out new blogs.
My intent is not to be jerk on this, but what's fair is fair. I'm not taking away from this week or past winners regarding all of this, but we do need to make the change.
If you have any questions/conce­rns...please send an email to FORMBLOG@DRF.CO­M and it will get forwarded to me.
Thank You!
Rick

REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATE THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL).

Best of luck to all.

***

Will be back Friday with the HG analysis. 

You can follow me on Twitter at DRF_DanIllman.

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