10/07/2014 1:18PM

Game On Dude, Amazombie arrive at Old Friends

Nicole Russo
Amazombie, an earner of $1.92 million, at Old Friends farm on Tuesday.

Three-time Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude and Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and champion Amazombie arrived Tuesday afternoon at Old Friends equine retirement farm in Georgetown, Ky.

The two geldings were on the same flight from California to Kentucky, and then shared a van for the trip from Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport to Old Friends.

“I think they’re buddies now,” Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen said as he supervised the unloading of the horses, adding that both traveled well.

Game On Dude, by Awesome Again, won 16 of 34 starts, including 14 graded stakes, earning $6,498,893. His bankroll makes him the richest Old Friends resident.

Trained throughout his career by Bob Baffert for an ownership group that included Diamond Pride LLC, the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, and Bernie Schiappa, Game On Dude won the Santa Anita Handicap in 2011, 2013, and 2014, making him the only horse to ever win the historic race three times. He scored five other Grade 1 victories, taking two editions each of the Hollywood Gold Cup and Goodwood/Awesome Again Stakes, and winning the Pacific Classic.

Game On Dude placed in seven graded stakes, including a runner-up effort in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic, the best of his three efforts in that race.

Blowen said he had had several conversations with Baffert between Game On Dude’s retirement last month and his arrival at Old Friends.

“He was very, very specific about the kinds of questions he asked [and interested] about the care the horses would receive,” Blowen said. “[He wanted to know] how far are you from Rood & Riddle [Equine Hospital] and Hagyard [Equine Medical Institute], who’s your vet, what do you feed them. I was really impressed by the quality of questions and the specificity of them. We had four or five conversations.”

Amazombie won seven stakes and placed in six others, earning $1,920,378. The Northern Afleet gelding reached his peak in the fall of 2011, when, after a pair of Grade 1 placings at Del Mar, he won the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita, then shipped to Churchill Downs to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint by a neck. The strong finish earned him the Eclipse Award as champion sprinter.

Amazombie added a third career Grade 1 the following summer in the Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. The gelding was trained throughout his career by Bill Spawr, who co-owned him with Thomas Sanford.

Amazombie becomes one of several Breeders’ Cup winners to call Old Friends home, joining current residents Gulch and Eldaafer and the deceased Black Tie Affair, Fraise, Precisionist, Prized, and Sunshine Forever.

Blowen called being entrusted with both geldings “a testament to [Old Friends’] great volunteers.”