08/13/2013 3:36PM

Del Mar: Game On Dude skips over Polytrack in Pacific Classic work


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DEL MAR, Calif. – Fourth in the Pacific Classic in 2011 and second last year, Game On Dude will come into this year’s edition of the Grade 1, $1 million race on Aug. 25 riding a five-race win streak. But, most significantly, he appears to be handling Del Mar’s Polytrack surface much better than in years past.

On Tuesday morning, Game On Dude had his penultimate drill for the 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic, and while the time was ordinary, the manner in which he did it was extraordinary. Game On Dude skipped over the track – didn’t seem to be fighting his way through it – while covering five furlongs in 1:02.40. Seemingly bored by working alone and so slowly, Game On Dude picked up steam after the work was over and powerfully galloped out another quarter-mile.

“He was cruising. Did it the right way,” Bob Baffert, trainer of Game On Dude, said as Game On Dude jogged off the track after the work. “I’m very happy with him. He didn’t do anything fast. We already know he’s fast.”

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Game On Dude has used his speed to win eight of his last 10 starts. His five-race win streak has coincided with joining forces with jockey Mike Smith. But Smith is scheduled to be at Saratoga on Aug. 25 to ride Royal Delta in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, so Joel Rosario has picked up the mount. Martin Garcia deputized for the work Tuesday. Game On Dude is scheduled to have his final work next Monday.

The Pacific Classic will feature a rematch between the top three finishers from last year’s race – Dullahan, Game On Dude, and Richard’s Kid. Dullahan is at Churchill Downs, where he worked Sunday and where he is scheduled to work again this Sunday before traveling to California early next week.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

In addition to those three, others pointing to the Pacific Classic include Delegation, Farraaj, Holding Glory, Jeranimo, Kettle Corn, Sky Kingdom, and You Know I Know.

Jeranimo, winner of the Grade 1 Eddie Read on turf here in his last start, worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Tuesday morning at Betfair Hollywood Park for trainer Mike Pender.