06/12/2011 3:57PM

Hollywood Gold Cup: Baffert intends to run First Dude and Game On Dude

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Tom Keyser
First Dude, shown finishing second in the 2010 Preakness, worked out in company with stablemate Game On Dude on Sunday in preparation for next month's Hollywood Gold Cup.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The 2011 stakes winners Game On Dude and First Dude worked in company at Santa Anita on Sunday in preparation for expected starts in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 9, trainer Bob Baffert said.

First Dude was timed in 59.60 seconds for five furlongs, while Game On Dude was timed in 1:00.40. Baffert said on Sunday that he had considered shipping one of the 4-year-olds to another circuit, but has decided to stay home.

“I’ve changed my mind,” he said. “I’ll run them both in the Gold Cup. They’re doing well.”

Game On Dude won the Santa Anita Handicap in a 14-1 upset on March 5 under jockey Chantal Sutherland, who will have the mount in the Gold Cup, Baffert said. Game On Dude later finished second in the $1 million Charles Town Classic in West Virginia on April 16 under jockey David Flores and third in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap in Texas on May 30 under Martin Garcia. “He got a little tired in Texas,” Baffert said.

First Dude will be ridden by Garcia in the Gold Cup. In his last start, First Dude closed from fifth in a field of nine to win the Grade 3 Alysheba Stakes by a nose at Churchill Downs on May 6.

Baffert said a contributing reason in his decision to run Game On Dude and First Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup is the race’s status as part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, which assures the winner a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

In addition, for the first time this year, the winner of a domestic Win and You’re In race receives a $10,000 travel allowance.

Aside from the two Baffert runners, the Gold Cup field will include defending champion Awesome Gem; Twirling Candy, Setsuko, and Aggie Engineer, the first three finishers of the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on June 4; and Jeranimo, who won the 2010 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita.

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