10/03/2014 11:41AM

Game On Dude to reside at Old Friends

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Barbara D. Livingston
Game On Dude is the only horse to win the Santa Anita Handicap three times.

Game On Dude, recently retired after a stellar career that included an unprecedented three victories in the Santa Anita Handicap, will spend his retirement at Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, Ky., the horse’s co-owner, Bernie Schiappa, said Friday.

Game On Dude, a 7-year-old gelding, was fourth in the Pacific Classic in his last start Aug. 25 at Del Mar. Last month, Schiappa, his ownership partners, and trainer Bob Baffert decided to retire Game On Dude, ending a career that saw him win $6,498,893, with 16 victories from 34 starts. He was feted with a retirement ceremony at Santa Anita last Saturday.

Schiappa said he had considered several proposals before deciding that Old Friends was the best spot for Game On Dude.

“He’ll have a good life there,” Schiappa said. “I like the way they handle things.”

Schiappa said he was particularly impressed with Michael Blowen, the founder of Old Friends, who oversees the retirement of the many horses on the property.

“He seems like a good guy,” Schiappa said.

Blowen, a former film critic for The Boston Globe, founded Old Friends in 2003.

Schiappa said Game On Dude likely will fly to Kentucky next week, pending the schedule of an equine charter taking horses from California to Kentucky. In the meantime, Game On Dude has been jogging at Santa Anita as Baffert has him wind down from the rigors of racing.

Game On Dude won eight Grade 1 races, including three victories in the Santa Anita Handicap, two in the Hollywood Gold Cup, and one in the Pacific Classic. He also won the Goodwood and, after it was renamed, the Awesome Again.

Game On Dude ran three times in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, his best finish a second in 2011 at Churchill Downs. In both 2012 and 2013 at Santa Anita, he was in position to be named Horse of the Year and champion older horse, but losses in those BC Classics were penalized by Eclipse Award voters and cost him championship honors.

At Old Friends, Game On Dude will join the likes of Commentator, Fabulous Strike, Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Gulch, Belmont Stakes winner Sarava, and two-time Pacific Classic winner Tinners Way.

Forego137 More than 1 year ago
One of the tuffest warrior's the game has seen and he will be missed. Too bad he was never recognized by the eclipse voter's which to me is a travesty. An earner of almost 7 million $$$$ speaks for itself, the likes of him will not be seen again most likely for quite some time. Enjoy retirement Champ IMO........
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's really too bad the eclipse voters rely on a recent show rather than an entire life's/year's work. Like so many stars, GoD will fade away; best of luck Dude! For me, you are a winner of your contribution to the game, Lifetime Achievement - JG
mike More than 1 year ago
Great news! Michael Blowen is first class all the way.
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Wow. What a stellar career, The Dude has had. Another great Gelding, right there with the likes of Forego and the great Cigar. So happy he retired sound and healthy. Enjoy your retirement, Big Guy, you sure as heck deserved it.
Valerie Pichette More than 1 year ago
Agreed (but Cigar was a stallion, infertile, but still a stallion). Glad the Dude will have a wonderful retirement.
mike More than 1 year ago
Visited him about 2 weeks ago,(Cigar).
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Excellent choice! People will debate his "greatness" and worthiness for the HOF, but he's certainly got my vote. I'll miss seeing him on the racetrack, but hope to someday see him at Old Friends.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Hats off to a great champion...when he was at his best there wasn't horse in training that could run with him! I hope to stop in and pay him a visit someday...
LESLIE More than 1 year ago
Am delighted to hear about plans. Am also sad that the suggestion that he make a last(non-entered) appearance next month at the place of his greatest accomplishments, as the lead horse for the classic.
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
I think it might be too much of a tease for Dude.Theyre trying to wind him down.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Nice spot to frolic in Kentucky pastures. A Breeders Cup jog would have been a nice send off. If allowed
LESLIE More than 1 year ago
Right on Thomas, I suggested that he might serve as the horse that leads the entries out to the gate that day when his retirement was first reported.
Mary Adkins-Matthews More than 1 year ago
This is the best news ever... he can retire with the greatest of equine athletes and will be loved and admired by so many fans.
Joan More than 1 year ago
M Blowen is a breath of fresh air for retired racers. The Dude will be very appy there, it is a wonderful facility. He does like his treats and the times I have visited I saw no one giving treats to the horses. Hope he will have a peacful, happy life and at last become a horse. All the best to Old Frieds and GID. .First Dude was my fav.