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Breeders' Cup Classic: Game On Dude has last 'easy' drill
By Jay Privman
Three of the leading contenders for this year’s $5 million Breeders’ Classic worked at two different tracks on Tuesday morning, with Game On Dude tuning up at Santa Anita, site of the Breeders’ Cup, while Fort Larned and Will Take Charge got their work in at Churchill Downs.
Game On Dude was timed in 50.60 seconds for a half-mile, with regular work rider Martin Garcia aboard. Mike Smith has the mount in the Classic on Nov. 2. Bob Baffert, who trains Game On Dude, said he wanted an easy work this week, and that he’d “start cranking on him next week.”
“This was his last easy work,” Baffert said. “He was just cruising around there. We’re just trying to keep him happy. Really, though, he’s ready to go.”
Game On Dude has won his last six starts, including all five of his races this year, and is considered the current favorite both for the Classic and for Horse of the Year. He was in a similar position going into last year’s Classic, but ran poorly, finishing seventh as the favorite. He was second in the 2011 Classic at Churchill Downs.
At Churchill Downs on Tuesday, Fort Larned – the winner of last year’s Classic – went a half-mile in 49 seconds, while Will Take Charge worked five furlongs in 1:00.40.
Fort Larned “went great,” said his trainer, Ian Wilkes, who said regular jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. was aboard. It was his first work since winning the Homecoming Classic at Churchill on Sept. 28.
“It was just a maintenance work, let him stretch his legs,” Wilkes said from Kentucky. “He galloped out good.”
Will Take Charge, who comes off consecutive victories in the Travers Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby, will be facing older runners for the first time in the Classic.
“That horse is really looking good. He did that quite easily,” Lukas, also in Kentucky, said of the workout. “He’s getting better.”
Will Take Charge always has been an imposing animal. Lukas said he’s “starting to fill out.”
“He’s a big, strong horse,” Lukas said. “He’s eating better. He’s all muscled out. He’s gotten into the routine. I’m excited to get him out there.”
Lukas said Will Take Charge would continue to train and work at Churchill Downs until Oct. 22, when he sends his Breeders’ Cup horses – including Strong Mandate for the Juvenile, and Fast Bullet for the Sprint – to Santa Anita.
“I want to get a breeze in there,” Lukas said.
Pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup are due on Oct. 21, and are announced Oct. 23. Final entries are taken, and post positions drawn, on Oct. 28.
After the Jockey Gold Cup performance, maybe we need to draw a line in Ron The Greek's Charlestown Classic and Santa Anita Handicap performance. The old man might have mailed in those races.
The Dude has the talent, and the rider to win the Classic. Mike Smith knows the horse, and should rate him kindly. WTC, should be on the board, with Fort Larned. That looks like my trifecta box.
In 2013 Game On Dude has been an absolute "FREAK" the key this year has been the way the connections have managed him, Spacing all his races 7,8 weeks apart just going for big grade 1's with the exception of the Charles Town Classic......The "Dude" has never been better his entire career and yes he doe's need the lead and thrives on early speed duels . Truth is if the "Dude" does'nt miss the start ,it" GAME OVER DUDE.........
Now people know graydar is faster then dude. Last time I checked they never raced. Fort larned proved he was faster then dude. Graydar donn hcp really strong field lets see flat out cant win outside of Belmont finish fourth the rest never heard of.
Very weak Classic field
The Breeders Cup needs to be rotated. it has totally lost its appeal.
Game on Dude and Fort Larned are horses that need to come out in front to perform well. So there is a big chance they will cancel each other out. So look out for off the pacer horses like Mucho Macho man or Palace Malice, or a closer Ron The Greek who runs like a freak only when some stars or asteroids,we still don't know about, align.
I have a feeling the Dudes chances are pretty fair this year unless a bounce after Pac. Classic is in order. Garcia pushed him down the stretch to prove a point I guess.
The only thing working against G.O.D. is history. This being his third crack at Classic and not getting the job done. It's his track and Baffert will have him jumping out of his skin. Pace or no pace, he's going to run; the the 10 furlongs is the question. Good luck to everyone this looks like a Great Breeders Cup.
Gonna be tough! Classic this year is loaded with great horses even with Orb and Cross traffic out. Really like G.O.D’s chances this year with Mike Smith who has a great BC record. If G.O.D has a good trip and stalks instead of front runs I think he’ll win. Cant really say what G.O.D’s running style is cause he could win post to wire or after burn on the stretch. With a loaded field with lost of speed G.O.D I think is better suited at pace. I’m sure all trainers are thinking the same. I expect an honest pace nothing fast until the the last 3 furlongs. I see Fort Larned the early leader with Palace Malice just behind and Game On Dude taking over in the last furlong.
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