Updated on 03/14/2011 10:42AM

Dubai World Cup invite for Game On Dude; Sutherland to ride

Shigeki Kikkawa
Game On Dude, Chantal Sutherland aboard after his Big Cap victory, will be sent to Dubai for the World Cup. Sutherland will be aboard for the $10 million race.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Game On Dude, the winner of the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 5, is bound for the United Arab Emirates after receiving an invitation on Thursday for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 26, according to trainer Bob Baffert and Dubai racing officials.

Chantal Sutherland, who became the first woman jockey to win the Santa Anita Handicap, will ride Game On Dude in an attempt to become the first woman jockey to win the world’s richest race.

“I’m so excited,” Sutherland said on Friday. “How cool is that?”

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Game On Dude returned to racetrack training earlier this week at Santa Anita, and has impressed Baffert with his enthusiasm following the Big Cap win. “He looks very good and that’s why I asked for an invite,” Baffert said.

Baffert said on Tuesday that he wanted to run Game On Dude in Dubai, but did not receive official notification of the invitation until Thursday.
The Dubai World Cup is run over 1 1/4 miles on a Tapeta Footings surface, the same distance as the Santa Anita Handicap, which was run on a sand-and-clay track.

Game On Dude, 4, won his first Grade 1 stakes in the Santa Anita Handicap as a 14-1 outsider, finishing a nose in front of Setsuko after a roughly-run race. A bumping incident in early stretch between Game On Dude, Setsuko and 1-2 favorite Twirling Candy was the subject of a 12-minute inquiry, but the order of finish was not changed.

Owned by Terry Lanni, Mercedes Stable and Bernie Schiappa, Game On Dude, a 4-year-old gelding by Awesome Again, has won 4 of 8 starts and $852,658. Last year, he was seventh in the Florida Derby and fourth in the Belmont Stakes, his only previous starts in Grade 1 races.
The Big Cap was Game On Dude’s second stakes win, preceded by the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in Texas last May.

Baffert will attempt to win his third Dubai World Cup with Game On Dude, having won with 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001. Last year, the Baffert-trained Richard’s Kid finished seventh in the Dubai World Cup.

Game On Dude is currently listed as a 16-1 shot for the Dubai World Cup with Coral, the British bookmaker. The favorite, at 3-1, is Twice Over, who was third in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita and won a prep race for the Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse on March 3.

Sutherland is also riding Make Music for Me in the $1 million Godolphin Mile on March 26. Trained by Alexis Barba, Make Music for Me was third in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita in early February.