08/13/2012 4:14PM

Del Mar: Game On Dude looking strong for Pacific Classic

Shigeki Kikkawa
Game On Dude, with Chantal Sutherland riding, wins the Hollywood Gold Cup.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Even though it was a trip to forget, Bob Baffert returned from Dubai a changed man, and Game On Dude returned from Dubai a different horse.

Baffert suffered a heart attack there, and though it sounds like a made-for-television cliché, he’s taking things much easier than before that episode. Game On Dude ran poorly in the World Cup, but has come roaring back since then, with two victories, and has continued to train strongly in advance of the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 26.

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On Monday morning, Game On Dude had his next-to-last work for the Pacific Classic, and he could not have looked better, easily moving past a workmate while covering six furlongs in 1:12.60, and leaving Baffert satisfied that Game On Dude was coming up to the race in excellent order.

“He went really good. Just breezing. I didn’t want to empty him out,” Baffert said as Game On Dude galloped out. “He’s just a different horse this year.”

Baffert is planning on running three horses in the Pacific Classic, with Jaycito and Richard’s Kid joining Game On Dude.

Sutherland ban in question

Rafael Bejarano worked Game on Dude On Monday, as he often does. Game on Dude’s regular rider, Chantal Sutherland, came out to watch the work from the stands. She had just returned from a trip to England, where she competed in an international jockey competition on Saturday, and came home with a four-day suspension for overuse of the whip.

The suspension, handed out by officials at Ascot, encompasses the dates of the Pacific Classic. But Nigel Macfarlane, the head of disciplinary for the British Horseracing Authority, on Monday in an e-mail said there was a provision for riders who have been suspended for four days or less to make an application to the authority to change the suspension days.

Sutherland’s agent, Tommy Ball, said he was in contact with the British agency to make that happen.

“I’m submitting today an official request to defer a day of her suspension,” Ball said Monday morning at Del Mar.

Ball said he would merely ask for the Pacific Classic day to be deferred to another day, but would accept the other suspension days surrounding Pacific Classic Day. The British Horseracing Authority suspends riders based on calendar days, not racing days, so Ball believed Sutherland would end up not riding at Del Mar Aug. 25 and Aug. 29

Over the weekend, Del Mar’s stewards said they would honor with reciprocity whatever the British agency ruled regarding Sutherland.

Having the he British Horseracing Authority defer or eliminate a suspension is not without precedent. On Friday, it “quashed” – according to the BHA’s website – a two-day suspension given to jockey John Fahy for a whip violation at Doncaster on Aug. 4.

Jordan More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude might be better this year, but that still doesn't mean he likes the Polytrack as much as dirt or Cushion Track. Handicap the Pacific Classic under the assumption Dude will be about 2-3 lengths slower than he was at Santa Anita or Hollywood Park. If you feel that still leaves him as the best horse, then bet him.
richard montgomery More than 1 year ago
See Martin Garcia whip the crap out of My Best Buddy? Sorry Chantel.
Alex Martinez More than 1 year ago
Can someone explain to me why Del Mar needs to honor Britain's suspension? To me, it seems kind of silly that a suspension should be upheld here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's professional courtesy. You never see excessive use of the wip in the u.s. rarely. but they are strict on beating a dead horse so to speak.
Derek More than 1 year ago
the whip rule in the uk has been around the houses recently but is appropriate that jockeys be punished for blatant and unnecessary overuse. I have watched racing in the states for the past 9 years and am disgusted at the reliance on the whip by most jockeys, even when they are well clear.......maybe they feel that with all the lasix and bute the horses need waking up?
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
As stated, it is for "reciprocity" so that the British would likewise honor any ruling handed out by the Del Mar stewards. Countries in international affairs reciprocate all the time, from extraditing criminals, approving tourist visas, to levying import tariffs.
Alex Martinez More than 1 year ago
Ahhhh gotcha. Thanks for explaining that to me. Is this the same courtesy we extended to them by not DQing Goldikova in the BC Mile last year? ;)
Jordan More than 1 year ago
That's a good one. Love that little mare, but wow. Really surprised she stayed up in 3rd.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
its to stop venue hopping to avoid any punishment for anything,its this were better here mentality and dont abide by any other jurisdictions rules thats led to every crook in the world moving here.just look at how many trainers that have been given long suspensions in other countries end up here,biancone comes to mind,also jockeys that are banned in south america end up here.its a stupid policy not to uphold a suspension in the uk or any other legitimate venue.take r duthrow for instance hes not allowed to train in kentucky and still trains in new york even though they handed him a 10 year suspension,how would it be fair if when he exausts his appeals and had to serve the 10 years he just moved to canada and continued over there.it would be a huge loophole and undermine all racing jurisdictions.
Bsb Jaws More than 1 year ago
My co worker stuck his foot up the rear of a carny hawk and it only took him less than one second. He didnt make any money per second, buttZ... it sure was fun.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Hey Jaws. Glad to see some humor here. Lately these blogs been just way off course. Maybe some regulars can hint to the moderator to keep non-article quotes off the blogs. Anyways. Dude looks like he is getting sharp. Small field only going to help him. Also how is Bob going to lose running 3 horses?
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago