05/30/2013 4:18PM

Hollywood Park: Clubhouse Ride free of nemesis in Californian

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Clubhouse Ride has finished second to Game On Dude in graded stakes three times this year.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – At least on Saturday, Clubhouse Ride is free of the presence of Game On Dude in the $150,000 Californian Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Game On Dude is the lone horse that has kept Clubhouse Ride from becoming a multiple stakes winner this year.
After finishing a well-beaten second to Game On Dude in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes in February and Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2, Clubbhouse Ride nearly beat Game On Dude in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic in West Virginia on April 20, losing by a half-length. The difference between the winner’s share and second place was $750,000.

“He ran too good to lose – half a length for a million dollars,” trainer Craig Lewis said. “The $250,000 was a good score.”

The Californian drew a field of seven that includes four stakes winners – Blueskiesnrainbows, Holladay Road, Kettle Corn, and Liaison; the stakes-placed Oilisblackgold; and Batti Man, who won an optional claimer here May 17.

[CALIFORNIAN STAKES: Get PPs, watch Saturday's full card live]

Clubhouse Ride and Liaison, who won the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap over 1 1/16 miles here May 4, will dominate the betting.

Garrett Gomez will ride Clubhouse Ride for the first time Saturday. Clubhouse Ride, who drew the rail, races from off the pace.

Batti Man and Blueskiesnrainbows, who won the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes over 1 1/8 miles here last July, will race near the front.

Liaison is likely to be just behind the leaders. A repeat of his last race would be good enough to win.

Trained by Bob Baffert for Arnold Zetcher, Liaison is unbeaten in two starts this year – the Santana Mile at Santa Anita in March and a win by 1 1/2 lengths in the Mervyn LeRoy.

“I think he matured and filled out,” Baffert said. “He’s better with age.”

Baffert, who trains Game On Dude, was confident in Liaison’s chances going into the Mervyn LeRoy.

“He’d been training well,” Baffert said. “I knew he’d run a good race.”

Baffert has the same expectations for Saturday’s race, acknowledging that a horse who gave Game On Dude a scare last month will be a challenge for Liaison.

“He’s in tougher,” Baffert said. “Clubhouse Ride has been knocking on the door.”

A winner of 3 of 27 starts and $869,620, Clubhouse Ride can win his first graded stakes in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on the synthetic main track. The Californian could give Clubhouse Ride his first stakes win since the 2010 Barretts Juvenile at Fairplex Park. A win would lead to a start against Game On Dude in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6.

“If he runs well, we’ll go in the Gold Cup,” Lewis said.

Clubhouse Ride, who races for Nikolas Petralia and Six-S Racing Stable, is winless in six career starts on the synthetic track at Hollywood Park, but was third to Comma to the Top in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity here in 2010.

“He’s run well at every track we’ve taken him to, so we’re hopeful,” Lewis said.

B More than 1 year ago
Won't matter. CR will still come in second.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
CR has seconditis written all over him. Kettle Corn worth a strong look.
prlyr4lyf More than 1 year ago
Clubhouse Ride finally get's his pic taken.....perhaps
IONCAL More than 1 year ago
It's interesting Baffert used to have Blueskiesnrainbows in his barn, and last year he beat both Nonios and Liaison in the Swaps. He was taken from Baffert after finishing a well beaten 5th to Jaycito (another Baffert) in a Dec 1st allowance, and given to Hollendorfer to train. Dec 1st was also the same day Nonios ran second to Game On Dude in the Native Diver, he hasn't even worked since, anyone know what's going on with him?
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
After those two strong races, losing to better, the question arises - will he repeat, improve or come up flat? I have not looked at the PPs yet to check his work tab and CR has had five weeks to rest since his trip to Charles Town. But he has no wins on this strip with 6 tries. Does it make sense to take a super short #? At 7-2 I feel he has limited value, at 8-5 he's a solid play against - at least for the top slot.
Gene More than 1 year ago
Yet ANOTHER Steve Andersen mistake....Garrett Gomez will ride Clubhouse Ride for the first time Saturday. Garrett rode him LAST TIME in the Charlestown Classic... Can this bozo write a mistake free article just once?????
Mike N. More than 1 year ago
I don't know what he's smoking, but what ever it is it's some wicked stuff!
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
I llike Steve Andersen. He's sharp.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
That 2010 CashCall Futurity might not have produced any stars of the Triple Crown, but in Comma to the Top and Clubhouse Ride it had 2 admirable pros. As for the 2011 CashCall Futurity, the winner was Liaison, a horse who appears set to fulfill the promise from his juvenile campaign. What will become of the Cash Call Futurity(and other Hollywood Park stakes for that matter)? The CashCall is traditionally run in mid-December; next year, it will be Los Al that will be offering thoroughbred races in early and mid-December. Would they run a $750k thoroughbred race at Los Al?
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Dubious. Those kinds of connections would not run their top juveniles around a bull ring. The traditional Hollywood stakes will be a big loss.
jttf More than 1 year ago
bobby is getting serious with liaison. two 6f works within 5 days. blueskiesnrainbows gets two turf works. how can this english channel horse only have two 9th place finishes on the turf ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We read these stories of great horses past, great races past, great racetracks past, etc. too bad these types of stories will never happen again. Casino gambling killed horse racing. And the states who sell out to casino gambling just put one more dagger in the sport. It's a shame.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Don't write the obituary. It isn't over yet.
Dick More than 1 year ago
10k To place on Clubhouse, lock of the week!
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Only if you can afford it, dude.