06/02/2012 8:30PM

Hollywood Park: Game On Dude dominates Californian

Shigeki Kikkawa
Chantal Sutherland enjoys the ride aboard Game On Dude in the Grade 2 Californian.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Game On Dude was tipping his readiness for his first start since March with his recent workouts.

What trainer Bob Baffert could not have envisioned was that Game On Dude would win Saturday’s $150,000 Californian Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths at Betfair Hollywood Park in his first start in more than two months.

“I knew he’d run well, but I didn’t think I’d see that,” Baffert said.

Baffert’s confidence rose after Game On Dude worked seven furlongs in 1:24 at Santa Anita on May 27. The trainer opted for a start in the Grade 2 Californian instead of working Game On Dude through June, toward a start in $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 7.

“I thought, I’ll work him for $150,000,” Baffert said.

The Californian was Game On Dude’s first start since a disappointing 12th in the Dubai World Cup on March 31, and his second stakes win of 2012. The runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs last fall, Game On Dude won the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita in February.

Ridden in the Californian by regular rider Chantal Sutherland, Game On Dude ($4) led throughout the Grade 2 Californian, holding a one-length advantage on the backstretch over Morning Line. The lead was 1 1/2 lengths at the end of the backstretch, and widened on the turn to be six lengths at the eighth pole. Game On Dude ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.01.

“Bob said to get him into his groove,” Sutherland said. “I let him do his thing.”

On the backstretch, Sutherland said. “I didn’t move a muscle. I don’t know if I took a breath. He relaxed and he just took off.”

Kettle Corn, the winner of the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap here last December, closed from fourth to finish second, a half-length in front of the Baffert-trainer Prayer for Relief. Morning Line, the winner of the Grade 3 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap last month, faded to finish last, a performance that stunned jockey Joe Talamo.

“It really surprised me,” Talamo said.

“That’s a nice horse,” he said of the winner. “Every time I got to him, she let out a notch.”

The first two finishers are expected to return in the Hollywood Gold Cup.

Game On Dude’s victory was worth $90,000. A 5-year-old gelding by Awesome Again, Game On Dude has won 7 of 17 starts and $2,344,658 for owners Bernie Schiappa, the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, and Joe Torre, the former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Jeremy Porter More than 1 year ago
wow what a tough field he beat!!! This is a joke
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
What's a joke? The horses internal fractions? Don't look like joking #s to me!
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
A very impressive win for Game On Dude. Chantel gave him an excellent ride. Congratulations to both Chantel and Game On Dude.
Jimee63 More than 1 year ago
Game On Dude ran a sensational race. Question, does California have an accurate test for EPO yet?
JAHMAN More than 1 year ago
What happened in Dubai lack of lasix
mike More than 1 year ago
Nice race G.O.D.
Dwayne Watts More than 1 year ago
Congratulations Chantel and Game On Dude!!! :)
Jordan More than 1 year ago
A really striking performance by Game on Dude. 1:48 is moving on Hollywood's Cushion Track. Visually, Game on Dude's move around the turn was awesome. And it was equally as impressive when looking at the fractions; Game on Dude gets the 3rd quarter in 23 and 4 and then runs the 4th quarter in 23 and 2. When a horse, especially one on or near the lead, can turn in sub-24 second internal quarters of a 9+ furlong race, it will be very difficult to be beaten. Only the really good ones can go 24 and 24, then 23 and 23 when running a distance of ground. That's what made Lava Man so good out in California; he would throw down a 24 second or faster quarter just when the other horses near the lead were slowing down. The result was that Lava Man would suddenly shoot 3 lengths clear, a fait accompli. Speaking of internal fractions, back in the 97' Hollywood Gold Cup the two Mandella horses, Gentlemen and Siphon, put up an internal half of about 46, with one of those quarters sub-23. At 10 furlongs, that's just silly. I guess it's why Gentlemen received a 121 Beyer for the race(and also ran a 126 and another 121 along with a bunch of 116s).
Jerry Ray More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad that Chantal Sutherland got to ride him.I was afraid that they would take her off after the ride in Dubai.I really like her as a rider and feel that she fits this horse real well.Thank you very much Bob Baffert.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
The past performances were clear - GoD's 100+ BSF's were produced only when Chantal was the rider. Why would a brilliant trainer like Baffert even consider pulling her?
Tyren M More than 1 year ago
Good day for Bob. Lady Ten/Game On Dude Double!
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
“Bob said to get him into his groove,” Sutherland said. “I let him do his thing.” On the backstretch, Sutherland said. “I didn’t move a muscle. I don’t know if I took a breath. He relaxed and he just took off.” --- That is sooo kewl!!!