07/30/2011 2:51PM

Del Mar: Game On Dude sharp in workout, still on for Pacific Classic

Benoit & Associates
Game On Dude (left), with Chantal Sutherland riding, wins the Santa Anita Handicap.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude zipped through a five-furlong workout in 59.20 seconds at Del Mar on Saturday, leaving trainer Bob Baffert confident approaching the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 28.

The workout so impressed Baffert that he briefly kicked around the idea of sending Game On Dude to the $750,000 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday.

“I should send him to the Whitney,” Baffert said shortly after the workout. “He’s ready to run.”

Later in the morning, he backed off. “I’d like to run him here,” he said. “I’ve worked him twice here and he gets over it really well.”

Ridden in the workout by Martin Garcia, Game On Dude worked with stablemate Awesome Patriot, a 3-year-old who won the minor Alydar Stakes at Hollywood Park in May. Starting at the 4 1/2 furlong marker, Awesome Patriot started about five lengths in front, an advantage that was greatly reduced by the time the pair reached the stretch. Racing wide, Game On Dude went by his stablemate near the wire.

Awesome Patriot, who finished fifth in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 11, was timed in 1:00.20.

Game On Dude was second by a nose in the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 9, his most recent start, losing to stablemate First Dude, who has since been retired with a tendon injury.

Owned by Bernie Schiappa, Mercedes Stable, Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride Stable, and the estate of Terri Lanni, Game On Dude has won 4 of 11 starts and $1,024,658.

Baffert said that Game On Dude will be ridden by Chantal Sutherland in the Pacific Classic, a race that may also attract Blind Luck, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2010.

Ultra Blend works for Hirsch start

Ultra Blend, beaten a nose in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 16, worked a half-mile in 49.80 seconds on Saturday. She will make her next start in the $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles next Saturday.

Ultra Blend was promoted from second to first in the Grade 2 Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 21. St Trinians finished first in that race but was disqualified and placed fourth for causing interference. Saturday, St Trinians worked six furlongs in 1:12.60.