Updated on 04/19/2013 8:53AM

Game On Dude, Ron the Greek top Charles Town Classic field of seven

Coady Photography
Game On Dude, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap, will start from post 3 in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic on Saturday.

A $1.5 million race in the hills of West Virginia may not be as glamorous as a $10 million race in the desert of Dubai, but it certainly was the wiser of the two options trainer Bob Baffert had for his multiple Grade 1- winning gelding Game On Dude.

Two years after finishing second in the then-$1 million Charles Town Classic, Game On Dude is back to take another shot at West Virginia’s biggest prize, only this time the pot is $1.5 million with $1 million guaranteed to the winner.

Game On Dude drew post 3 and will likely be favored in a field of seven entered Wednesday for Saturday’s Charles Town Classic run at 1 1/8 miles. The competition includes 2011 Santa Anita Handicap winner Ron the Greek, 2012 Charles Town Classic winner Caixa Eletronica, and 2013 Santa Anita Handicap runner-up Clubhouse Ride.

The Charles Town Classic will go as race 12 on a 13-race program. First post is 5 p.m. Eastern and post for the Classic is scheduled for 10:30 p.m.

Game On Dude didn’t seem to mind the bullring type track of West Virginia two years ago though perhaps he didn’t like the mud as he finished second to Duke of Mischief.

Game On Dude enters the Classic off of three consecutive wins, including what appeared to be an easy 7 3/4-length score in the Grade 1 Santa Handicap, his second win in that race in three years.

“I don’t think any of them are easy because he always puts out,” Baffert said Wednesday. “He won by a large margin. Once he gets rolling he keeps rolling all the way around.”

Game on Dude, who carries top weight of 123 pounds, could find some speed in the race from the likes of Mordi’s Miracle, who is owned by one of Baffert’s main clients, Ahmed Zayat, but who is trained by Todd Pletcher. Pletcher also has entered Caixa Eletronica and Percussion.
Ron the Greek, trained by Bill Mott, won the Sunshine Millions Classic by 11 1/4 lengths to being his 6-year-old season on Jan. 19. He then finished fourth, 9 1/4 lengths behind Game On Dude in the Santa Anita Handicap, compromised perhaps by the slow early pace.

“Maybe we took our horse out of his game trying to stay a little closer,” Mott said.

Ron The Greek will break from post 5 under Jose Lezcano and 118 pounds.

Caixa Eletronica missed some time with a foot injury, but got a solid prep in when he took the six-furlong Uncle Mo Stakes at Aqueduct on March 14.

Despite having won this race last year, Caixa Eletronica gets in with 116 pounds, seven less than Game On Dude.

Clubhouse Ride, second in the Santa Anita Handicap, and Isn’t He Perfect, third in the Excelsior at Aqueduct, complete the field.

Baffert and Smith will try to go for a sweep of the two biggest stakes on the card when they team up with Book Review in the $200,000 Sugar Maple Stakes at seven furlongs.

Book Review won the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks, which like the Sugar Maple is at seven furlongs, last fall when in the care of trainer Chad Brown.

Book Review drew post 4 and will face a field that includes Charles Town Oaks runner-up Holiday Soiree, Kalambaka Queen, Katie Get Excited, Dance to Bristol, Bayonne, and Dangerous Vixen.