11/02/2013 10:05PM

Breeders' Cup: Game On Dude's defeat concludes bittersweet weekend for Baffert

Tom Keyser
Mike Smith won three Breeders' Cup races, but finished ninth aboard favored Game On Dude in the $5 million Classic.

ARCADIA, Calif. - A roller-coaster day of experiences and emotions ended on a down note for trainer Bob Baffert, who watched Game On Dude finish far back as the 8-5 favorite in Saturday’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

Contesting a hot pace while three-wide under Mike Smith, Game On Dude faded to ninth in the stretch, beaten 11 1/2 lengths.

[BREEDERS' CUP SATURDAY: Video replays and race results]

“It’s disappointing,” Baffert said. “Mucho Macho Man ran a great race. Dude was in a good spot. When he asked him to go he just didn’t have anything. Mike [Smith] couldn’t have done anything differently. It’s a shame it had to end like this.”

The loss by Game On Dude was his first in six starts this year and will undoubtedly cost him a shot at Horse of the Year. It was also his third loss in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race in which he finished second in 2011 and seventh last year.

The loss came on a day when Baffert won two Breeders’ Cup races, but also lost the 2-year-old filly Secret Compass, who suffered a fatal breakdown during the running of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

“You got to take the good with the bad,” Baffert said, while still in his box seat 10 minutes after the race. “That’s what this game is. It’s a humbling sport. You just got to be prepared for all the letdowns.

“The filly from the fourth race, it hurts. It’s going to hurt for awhile,” Baffert added. “I can’t believe it happened because I really thought she had a chance to win it.”

In between the Juvenile Fillies and Classic, Baffert was in the winner’s circle with New Year’s Day in the Juvenile and Secret Circle in the Sprint. Coming into Saturday, Baffert had gone 1 for 25 (in 21 races) in the Breeders’ Cup since 2009.

Smith said the early pace was fast, but when he tried to ease Game On Dude a little bit off of Moreno and Fort Larned, his mount wanted no part of it.

“I tried to ease out to see if he’d drop it a little for me and then he was on it, with the crowd screaming he was on it,” Smith said.

 Smith said Gary Stevens, the rider of Mucho Macho Man, “was right there too, he was in front of us for a little while. He eased back and jumped to our outside real fast, didn’t he? When he did that, that was the winning move.”

For Smith, the loss in the Classic ended an up-and-down Breeders’ Cup weekend. He won three Breeders’ Cup races - the Marathon and Juvenile Turf on Friday - and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Saturday, but lost on favorites Royal Delta in the Distaff and Game On Dude in the Classic.

“I wish my two big horses would have run better - Royal Delta for whatever reason didn’t run her race. Today it’s kind of strange - but all in all we had a great Breeders’ Cup,” Smith said.




Walter More than 1 year ago
Dude should be compared to an NFL team which has had the #1 seed in the playoffs and loses it's first game two years in a row. The BC Classic is run in his backyard the last 2 years and he gets blown out both times. Dude is just an average horse running in subpar graded races in CA. When the competition gets tougher, he doesn't get it done. No excuses can explain this one.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Looks like Game On Dude had his most BC success with one Chantal Sutherland on his back.....Am I wrong y'all?
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude will be 2/5 in next years BREEDERS CUP DIRT MILE. You heard it here first. He would of not beat Goldencents with that performance.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
That perfomance would have not beat Goldencents. Hope that is better RIP GRAMMAR.probably not
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
He won't win that either. Not on breeders cup day. Bafferts only shot is in the sprints and juveniles.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
You are right but the public will bet him down. I am officially off the Dude.
Craig More than 1 year ago
When The Dude entered the gate he was in dismay,no sign of his punching bags,aka Kettle Corn,Clubhouse Ride,John Scott and the likes.Real racehorses for a change.Game Over Dude.
Getta Lyfe More than 1 year ago
Ain't that the truth. Stayed in CA and beat not much all year.
Rick Hulce More than 1 year ago
Bob Baffert snapped a 1 for 25 slump in the Breeder's Cup dating back to 2009 with two solid victories on Saturday. Congrats to Martin Garcia on his first two BC scores. I can't believe online DRF posters let small things like a fatality of a horse, a seriously injured Hall of Fame jockey, and dismal efforts by Game On Dude, Tap It Rich and the courageous, should-have-been-retired Paynter take away from a much-needed feel good story.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
For bringing up Bob Baffert two breeders cup wins or California's five wins by four different trainers you are about to get -15, from the Shug, Mott, TAP and Kiarian Lover's. They did so well in this years Breeders Cup. The Belmont Boys were hitting on all cylinders. LOL SMH. And a Big Plus One from me Bro. RIP Secret Compass. Game on Dude, 2014 Dirt Mile.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
You actually want yet another feel good Baffert story. You just can't get enough of the guy I suppose. He got a big interview for the great recovery story of Paynter. Oddly, he had nothing to do with it. He saw him about a week before the Haskell and never saw him again until sent to his Santa Anita barn for more serious training. Ironically, His two BC wins came with Garcia up, the same guy he uses as his morning grunt and treated like a red headed step child.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Yes I'm a Baffert fan. But I have say did you see Secret Compass work out before this race. I am have to criticise my favorite trainer about these works. I am not a horsemen I am better mostly a big fan. I am starting to wonder about these bullet works all the time. Baffert horses are always 1/70 in the racing form on workouts. What is your take on this. He has had 12 horses die in a year. I don't get it I like the guys, but I have to admit it is weird. I not. TAP fan but I would rather have a horse burn out early, then die.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
larry roswell More than 1 year ago
A message to a lot of you posters . Go back to grade five and learn how to spell and perhaps you could also learn how to string a sentence together to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
* too.
Rick Hulce More than 1 year ago
Me too!!
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Was not talking about you Rick,
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
lose not loose.
larry roswell More than 1 year ago
Way to go MACHO! u da MAN!
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
"It was also his third loss in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race in which he finished second in 2011 and seventh last year." Second in 2011, seventh in 2012, ninth in 2013! I hope he does not run in the Classic next year because he will finish 11th or 14th or may not finish at all! Its not getting any better for Game on Dude.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Ha. Drf removing my posts for simply stating facts. West coast biased print. How could any of baffert weekend be sweet when cCalifornia's poster boy GOD got drilled AGAIN in the classic and exposed as the most overrated and hyped horse in the history of horse racing ? Or does the drf and some if its staff feel the need to block thes comments to try and save some face because they were the ones hyping this fraud And even worse one of his horses broke down and had to be euthanized and the hof jock vatted to hospital to have his spleen removed as a result.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
I hear the drf+ has gone over like a led balloon so far too!
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Overall Mark, How did the Belmont boys do.Game on Dude is a fraud I willl admit that you are right Game on Dude face weak competition and folded against real competition. Beholder, Goldencents, Mizdirection, Secret Cirlce New Years Day did pretty well. I still have my shirt on, made a little bit of a profit not enough to call off. I thought about you when I Cashed on New Years Day and Goldencents. If you had Mucho Macho Man congrats. Overall TAP did not win any or shug and mott and Kiarian. So where is your shirt. In the future I will let Bob Baffert beat me in the classic new hcp tool.LoL. Bet sprint's and juveniles
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
You saw who was on the cover of Saturday's DRF...GAME ON, DUDE!