08/22/2014 1:12PM

Game On Dude nearing end of storied career

Barbara D. Livingston
Game On Dude has won more than $6 million over the course of his career.

DEL MAR, Calif. – This could be the final season of Game On Dude’s career.

The 7-year-old gelding, who has won 16 of 33 starts and earned $6,438,893, has been the dominant older horse in California for the last three years. But he no longer is considered a clear leader in the division.

While Game On Dude won the Santa Anita Handicap for a record third time in March, he has lost his last two starts – a second in the Charles Town Classic in West Virginia in April and a fourth in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June – leaving questions as to whether he is as effective as in past seasons.

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Not surprisingly, co-owner Bernie Schiappa thinks otherwise and said Game On Dude can prove so in Sunday’s $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar, a race he won last year. The race is a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.

“The best scenario is he wins this race and the Breeders’ Cup and it ends,” Schiappa said.

Schiappa owns Game On Dude with Debbie Lanni, Mercedes Stable, and Joe Torre. Schiappa thought the loss in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita was caused by Game On Dude being close to a quick pace.

“That race was not Game On Dude’s fault,” he said.

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On Sunday, Game On Dude will make his fourth appearance in the Pacific Classic. He was fourth in 2011 and second in 2012. Win or lose Sunday, Schiappa will defer to trainer Bob Baffert on Game On Dude’s future, with hopes for a glorious finish to his career – this year or later.

“I know it will end,” Schiappa said. “I want to have a happy ending.”

◗ Jockey Corey Nakatani starts a three-day suspension Sunday for causing interference on Reneesgotszip in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap on Aug. 17. Nakatani was ruled to have failed to keep a straight course in the stretch of the sprint for fillies and mares. The suspension continues through Thursday.