01/25/2011 2:53PM

Baffert has two starting anew at Santa Anita

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Barbara D. Livingston
Game On Dude (above) and Mythical Power return to the races Thursday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Thursday is comeback day for Mythical Power and Game On Dude, stakes winners for trainer Bob Baffert in 2010.

Mythical Power won the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park last April, but lost his next four starts, including a second to Quality Road in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga.

Thursday, Mythical Power starts in an optional claimer over seven furlongs, the day’s fourth race.

In the seventh race, Game On Dude makes his first start since a fourth in the Belmont Stakes last June. Game On Dude won the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby last May. He starts in an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles.

Game On Dude was being prepared for the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park last July when he was injured, Baffert said.

“He did something to a hind ankle, so I had to stop on him,” he said. “I’ve got to get some races for him.”

Game On Dude is part of a field of seven in the optional claimer for horses who are “non-winners of two other than” or eligible for to be claimed for $62,500. Game On Dude is a standout in a field that includes When We Met, who was beaten a neck in an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 17.

One of Baffert’s concerns for Game On Dude is the distance. “Going seven-eighths might have been better,” he said.

On Jan. 17, Baffert worked Game On Dude and Mythical Power together, six furlongs in 1:12.60 from the gate, the fastest of eight recorded works at the distance.

Mythical Power was last of seven in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap over a mile at Belmont Park on Oct. 3, a loss that ended plans for a start in the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs in November. “We sent him to the farm and freshened him,” Baffert said.

A winner of 3 of 14 starts, Mythical Power has won stakes at Lone Star Park in past years. Success on Thursday could lead to a start in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 5.

”I’m trying to get him ready for the Big Cap,” Baffert said.

In the fourth race, Baffert also starts Red Door Drive, who was fourth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap here on Jan. 8. The race is for “non-winners of three” or $80,000 claimers.