04/16/2014 2:48PM

Game On Dude faces six challengers in Charles Town Classic

Shigeki Kikkawa
Game On Dude will break from post 3 Saturday night when he looks to defend his title in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic.

After claiming his third straight victory in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap last month, Game On Dude will go for his second straight success in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic on Saturday night, when he takes on six rivals in the $1.5 million race run at 1 1/8 miles around three turns.

Game On Dude, a 7-year-old Awesome Again gelding trained by Bob Baffert, drew post 3 in a seven-horse field that includes 2013 Charles Town Classic runner-up Clubhouse Ride, 2013 Travers and Pennsylvania Derby runner-up Moreno, and Grade 3 Excelsior runner-up Long River. Adding some intrigue to this year’s race is the presence of locally based Lucy’s Bob Boy, who is 17 for 21 at Charles Town, mostly in races restricted to West Virginia-breds.

[Charles Town Classic: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

Imperative and Ruler of Love complete the field.

After Game On Dude won last year’s Santa Anita Handicap by 7 3/4 lengths, he had to work harder than expected to win the Charles Town Classic, chasing Percussion early and then holding off Clubhouse Ride late to win by a half-length as the 1-5 favorite. After the race, Baffert revealed that Game On Dude ran in that race with glue-on shoes.

“He had plastic shoes with no toe-grabs,” Baffert said Wednesday from California. “He’s got toe grabs this time.”

Game On Dude is coming off a 1 3/4-length victory in the Santa Anita Handicap in which he defeated Will Take Charge, last year’s 3-year-old champion who came back to win last weekend’s Oaklawn Handicap.

Should Game On Dude win Saturday, he will earn $1 million and become, according to Equibase, the 15th Thoroughbred to top $7 million in career earnings.

Mike Smith will ride Game On Dude, the 123-pound highweight. He will spot the rest of the field five pounds.

Moreno, who won last year’s Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont, was scratched from the Oaklawn Handicap after developing shipping fever when he first arrived from California. On Sunday, he shipped to Keeneland, where he worked a half-mile Tuesday before shipping to West Virginia later that day.

“He’s really good,” trainer Eric Guillot said Wednesday. “He worked in 49 at Keeneland in a gallop, came back good, and ate up everything. You got to start somewhere.”

Joel Rosario will ride Moreno from post 2.

Clubhouse Ride, who nosed out Ron the Greek for second in this race last year, will break from the rail under Tyler Baze. He is coming off a third-place finish in the Santana Mile at Santa Anita on March 30.

Long River will break from post 5 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Long River had won three straight before losing a neck decision to stablemate Romansh in the Grade 3 Excelsior.

Lucy’s Boy Boy, 17 for 23 lifetime, comes off an 8 1/2-length allowance win sprinting March 29. Last year, Lucy’s Bob Boy won the Confucius Say Stakes on the Classic undercard.

The Charles Town Classic will go as the 12th race on a 14-race card that includes five other stakes, topped by the $200,000 Sugar Maple for fillies and mares at seven furlongs. The Sugar Maple drew a field of 11, including My Pal Chrisy, who was cross-entered in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct and is expected to run there since she is already in New York.

Quiet Sea, coming off a 9 3/4-length victory in a Delta Downs allowance race; More Than a Cruise, the recent winner of the Conniver Stakes at Laurel; and Flattering Bea, who is 3 for 4 at Charles Town, head the Sugar Maple field.

There be an all-stakes pick four on races 9 through 12 with a guaranteed pool of $100,000.

Milton Malla More than 1 year ago
Bet Long River to win!
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
If there is some way Dude loses, I like him as well.
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
GAME ON DUDE is better than ever, in his current condition he's a complete stand out. There will be those that hope he loses just so they can say I told you so and that is their reason for being interested in the race, when in fact they should be more interested in just much better GOD keeps getting w/age. Too sharp for this field or for any field he goes up against in is current condition. Take the time to enjoy what your watching "A TRUE RACING WARRIOR"
kim lawrence More than 1 year ago
The MOST overrated horse of all time!!!! Cant win the BCups in his own backyard. He is awesome in 5 horse fields----he gets hooked on the front end He's DONE.
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
I finally got to Handicap the P4. Most likely it will be chalky. It's not a slam dunk for GOD Moreno and the #4 could beat him. The #6 I don't think has enough class but he can run the par times. For longer shot horses I really like the #7 in race 9, kinda okay with the #6 in race 8 and I really like the #10 in race 10 and throw in the #5. .... so add in the 4 favorites and it's $36 for $1 Pick 4. .
Steve Reed More than 1 year ago
Why do people get so stirred up over a 1/9 shot . Not a Gamblers race in light of a short field.
B More than 1 year ago
Some people are fans of the sport and/or this horse & not just gamblers.
Pom DeTerre More than 1 year ago
certainly did turn out to be a gambler's race steve- just like Danza last week.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
I love when DRF deletes postings that aren't even off color. This site is awful.
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
“He had plastic shoes with no toe-grabs,” Baffert said Wednesday from California. “He’s got toe grabs this time.” oooh ooh! Please tell me the this race is NOT in the P4. He'll be a 1-9 shot.
Jason Kassa More than 1 year ago
The homepage is difficult to read and organized in a haphazard fashion. The majority of the articles also seem to be restricted in access.
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
Ditto, every change they make just drives more and more people away. Sad. How hard is it to copy all the successful layouts out there. This looks like it was pieced together by the same people that put Healthcare gov together.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
I don't pay them for anything anymore.
Jimmy Morales More than 1 year ago
I go to Bloodhorse.com to read alot now....They have good articles that DRF says they need Money for...wtf.
Pom DeTerre More than 1 year ago
and for free at bh- omg imagine that
Joseph Giambra More than 1 year ago
I've been buying the drf for over 55 years, paid 50 cents for years than 75 cents. Inflation considered I was OK with it until they breached $4.00. now I get all my pp's from bris for free if i make a bet on the track thru my Twinspires account. If I want to do the same with my drf bets account they debit my account a dollar and return it to my account a day or 2 later. Can anyone tell why tehy have to hold my money a day or 2?
David G. More than 1 year ago
So they can earn interest on it
Robert Clayton More than 1 year ago
2.20 minimum to show.....Im thinking at least 1 million will be bet on Dude.....Considering what junk there is in here to run against him the field contains quite a bit of speed which could complicate things for him a bit
Pom DeTerre More than 1 year ago
sure hope u didn't wheel him.
grayposse More than 1 year ago
Ah if anyone could make it interesting it could be Mike Smith. Always interesting to see Mikey's tactics.
Lefty More than 1 year ago
Rumor has it Kettle Corn will make a special guest appearance and will run in the race as well. Plus, I hear that a Camel and a highly motivated Yak will be entered into the race. Just to make interesting. =P
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
That was good.
Pom DeTerre More than 1 year ago
I was expecting goats and cows........ we r after all in w.va. thought they saved the camels for fairgrounds opening night