04/20/2013 11:41PM

Charles Town Classic: Game On Dude refuses to lose

Coady Photography
Despite having trouble getting a good grip of the track, Game On Dude, under Mike Smith, manages to hold off Clubhouse Ride by a half-length in the Charles Town Classic.

CHARLES TOWN, W. Va. - Mike Smith wasn’t concerned when longshot Percussion outbroke him and Game On Dude in Saturday night’s $1.5 million Charles Town Classic.

 He had other concerns.

“My main concern was he was slipping a lot,” Smith said. “I slipped leaving there. I slipped in the first turn. I slipped in the middle of the turn, but he just wouldn’t stop.”

Despite slipping all over the place, Game On Dude held off his California-based rival Clubhouse Ride and Ron the Greek to win the Charles Town Classic by one-half length, earning the $1 million first-place purse that went to the winner.

 Clubhouse Ride, who finished second to Game On Dude in the Grade 2 San Antonio and Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, was second by a nose over Ron the Greek. It was 7 1/2 lengths back to Percussion, who was followed in the order of finish by Caixa Eletronica and Isn’t He Perfect. Mordi’s Miracle scratched.

 The win was the fourth straight and 13th from 25 career starts for Game On Dude, a 6-year-old gelding by Awesome Again. He has now earned $4,702,158.

“I’m a lot more relieved,” Baffert said from Southern California, where he watched the race. “That was tough to watch.”

 Baffert did provide a reason why Game On Dude may have been slipping early. Baffert said he changed shoes to plastic shoes with no toe grabs, owing to the fact Game On Dude had lost a shoe in his 7 3/4-length victory in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2.

 “I’m running him in plastic shoes without a toe grab,” Baffert said. “I’m letting his foot grow out.”

 Speed had been dominant all night at Charles Town and many figured Game On Dude was the primary speed of the race after Mordi’s Miracle scratched.

 But it was obvious that trainer Todd Pletcher’s instructions to Kendrick Carmouche was to get Percussion to the early lead. Pletcher was also running Caixa Eletronica, last year’s Charles Town Classic winner, who would benefit from a contested pace.

 Though it looked like the pace was swift, the fractions posted on the board were 25.96 seconds for the quarter, and 49.37 for the half. Smith had Game On Dude just outside of Percussion.

 Down the backside, Game On Dude went to challenge for the lead, but Percussion was asked to keep up with him. Entering the far turn, Game On Dude did take command and opened up by about a length leaving the quarter pole.

 Smith had to keep after Game On Dude - he smacked him twice left-handed - in the stretch and he was able to fend off Clubhouse Ride.

 Game On Dude covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.27 and returned $2.60 as the 1-5 favorite.

 “Bob’s horses can run getting hooked or even if a horse outruns him a little bit because he works them every time like that,” Smith said.

 While Baffert wasn’t in attendance, his owners, including former Yankees manager Joe Torre and Bernie Schiappa, were present.

Torre, who wasn’t at Game On Dude’s easy Santa Anita Handicap score, said “my heart was pumping just about the same” as when he managed in the World Series.

 “When he came around the top of the stretch, it looked like he was working really hard,” Torre said. “Mike said he didn’t like the track. He said he was slipping all over the place, but his heart got him there.”

 Baffert said Game On Dude would return to Southern California and campaign there the remainder of the year leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita in November.



Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
Why are there so many haters on the eastcoast? They refuse to give credit where it's due. I'm on the westcoast and I give eastcoast horses tons of credit when they have it coming. Eastcoasters hated Zenyatta, said she couldn't run on dirt, couldn't run in the east, and couldn't beat the big boys. Guess what? SHE DID!!! She would have retired undefeated if she didn't have traffic trouble and get stopped on the far turn, then she was still eating Blame up at the wire. Just a whisker late. But that's horse racing and our hats went off to Blame. Now it's Game on Dude who can't beat eastcoast horses. In the BC two years ago, didn't he outrun the eastcoast's best, on the eastcoast, only to get snipped at the wire by a horse he never saw ridden by Mike Smith? The question has been asked several times on this thread, but never answered. WHO ARE THESE EASTCOAST MONSTERS THAT GAME ON DUDE CAN'T HANDLE?
Cranky More than 1 year ago
For a horse that so very many of you are so willing to dismiss as something less than great, answer this question: How many 6 year old geldings currently can boast winnings of $4,702,158.00? I would guess not a whole lot. That's not bad for a horse that only races "donkeys".
Peter Siipola More than 1 year ago
Lets see if Baffert has the stones to bring the Dude to the spa for the Whitney---thats a REAL Grade 1
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
No toe grab or bends? Of course the horse would slip. And run slower trying to hold the turns.
scott More than 1 year ago
To the comments below that the Dude has only beat 'donkeys' and cannot handle the 'big boys', here is a list of who he has beaten in graded stakes efforts and their best result is in parentheses. You tell me if these are donkeys he beat: Stately Victor (G1) Ice Box (G1) Make Music for Me (G3) Twirling Candy (G1) First Dude (G1) Tizway (G1) Rule (G2) Tackleberry (G2) Coil (G1) Ruler on Ice (G1) So You Think (group 1) Havre de Grace (G1) Flat Out (G1) ToHonorandServe (G1) Stay Thirsty (G1) Richards Kid (G1) Rail Trip (G1) Ron the Greek (G1) etc... .... I'm not saying the Dude is Seattle Slew, but he has done about all that has been asked of him and he's done it in top company. Do people think every big race of the 70's, 80's, and 90's were over filled? Some stakes having small fields is nothing new.
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
he's not Slew. Distance limitations wheb racing quality fields. YOU know it. and so does everyone else. You won't see tyhe ones he beat under 20-1 on BC day.
scott More than 1 year ago
I don't KNOW it. In which races was he distance challenged? With multiple wins and a placing in the BC Classic at 10F.... distance limitations? And yes you are correct, none of the retired graded stakes winners he's defeated will come out of retirement for this years BC.
Mr. Ed More than 1 year ago
Good news and bad news. Good news, Smith may be good for this horse, but Dude is better this year than last and better than he's ever been. Good news. The owners will have easy pickins back in Southern Ca winning big purses in 5 horse fields with no one but Cubhouse Ride to chase him around the track. Bad news. The racing fans will have to watch those Southern Ca races with Dude in 5 horse fields at 1-9 with no one but Clubhouse Ride to chase him around the track. Bad news. Breeders Cup.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But, Mr. Ed, in response to Bad news#1- Good news #4: Pick 3, 4, 5 and 6 singles means the ability to spread in more competitive races.
tyc More than 1 year ago
Was this a stake race? Did owners have to put in a large amount of money to run this race? The purse is so big and they only attracted few horses, why?
Patrick Reid More than 1 year ago
I am asking the same question!!!!
denali1 More than 1 year ago
Hers a clue Game on Dude, Ron the Greek, Clubhouse Ride not many gonna put up when the best you can due is run forth. To be honest i would of loved to have seen Fort Larned run here instead of Oaklawn.
Brindy Sutherland More than 1 year ago
1. Grade II Stake 2. Entry Fee: $5,000 to pass the entry box. Best deal in country!
John More than 1 year ago
whenever the dude and clubhouse run all u have to worry about is 3rd and 4th exacta triple super love it.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Are you seriously bragging about cashing a $6.60 exacta, $12.20 trifecta, and $33.90 superfecta? Did anyone not have that? When you cash ticktets like that you stay quiet, wait till the lines go down, and slink to the windows and hope your buddies don't see you, because if you have to buy them the next round of beers with your big win, you're in the hole again.
denali1 More than 1 year ago
Lol gotta love you $2 bettors hey i am not criticizing as long as your happy and having fun. Its what the games all about keep up the good work Dee!
Patrick Reid More than 1 year ago
True words
Black More than 1 year ago
You didn't because you had Ron Thr Geek on top. LOL.
Black More than 1 year ago
He's not bragging ,buttZ... you are surely sniveling.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Black, what don't you understand, apparently reading comprehension isn't your strong suit. I did not bet. I would never bet at that price. About the only way Dude could lose was if a stray cow or greased pig wandered onto the track. He's 1-5. Everyone in the world has him. So to crow about touting him and then say how right you are and proud to cash those tickets, is so childish it's embarrasing. Stop embarrasing yourself.
Black More than 1 year ago
Here let me embarrass you. 1-5s lose sometimes. I can't count all the $100 horses I've had that beat a 1-5 . You would never bet against a 1-5 because they are automatic ? Hehehe. You've just proved my point . You don't know what you are talking about and you just want to be sarcastic to a guy that cashed a ticket when you didn't.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
You embarrass yourself yet again by explaining what a three year old already knows. Race track etiquette. Never tout a 1-5 horse, you look foolish. If you bet a 1-5 horse, don't tell anyone or you look foolish. If the 1-5 horse wins, never ever say I told you he would win, you lool foolish and childish. Tell me, does your husband like horseracing? No man would ever take your argument.
Leslie Burke Fernandes More than 1 year ago
you can have those 22.00 tri's
Rob Smoke More than 1 year ago
Hand-timing this against the replay suggests the final time is about two seconds off.
Wayne Haehner More than 1 year ago
Hats off to "The Dude"--the pace scenario wasn't favorable for him and Pletcher had Carmouche do what was intended--and turning for home I was sure "The Greek" was a winner--but "The Dudue"showed so much grit, so much heart--over a surface that wasn't his best--and still won--we all must tip our hats to Bafferts runner--a truly great horse
Patrick Reid More than 1 year ago
There is nothing classy about game on dude...he only know how to beat donkeys
Biggar W More than 1 year ago
Close to 5 million for beating donkeys. Someone isn't too smart.