07/05/2012 3:12PM

Hollywood Park: Game On Dude the natural choice in Gold Cup

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Game On Dude, with Chantal Sutherland riding, romps in the Californian.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Can a horse win too well?

Game On Dude was vastly superior to three rivals in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 2, winning by 7 1/4 lengths as the pacesetter in his first start since a 12th in the Dubai World Cup in March.

[HOLLYWOOD PARK: Get PPs and watch Saturday’s full card live]

The win has left the 5-year-old gelding the 124-pound topweight for Saturday’s $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup over 1 1/4 miles.

Any concern about how Game On Dude would respond to his return to American racing was answered in the Californian. He has trained well for the Gold Cup over 1 1/4 miles, trainer Bob Baffert said.

“You never know how they’ll react to a big performance, but he looks great,” Baffert said.

Owned by a partnership, Game On Dude can win his third Grade 1 in the last 16 months in the Gold Cup. He won the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap and the Goodwood Stakes last October, but was second to Drosselmeyer in the biggest American race of them all, the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs last November.

In all of his major wins, Game On Dude has led or disputed the pace. He will be a danger from the front on Saturday.

A win in the Gold Cup would solidify Game On Dude’s status as the leading older male in the West. Just don’t expect jockey Chantal Sutherland to do any showing off in the stretch, allowing Game On Dude to pull clear the way he did in the Californian.

“I shouldn’t have made it look that easy,” Sutherland said. “I think he’s getting better.”

Baffert said he was surprised the way that Sutherland finished aboard Game On Dude in the Californian.

“She let him run too much last time,” Baffert said. “She could have throttled him down a little bit.”

The biggest threat to Game On Dude’s chances for a win is Richard’s Kid, who is also trained by Baffert.

A 7-year-old horse, Richard’s Kid won such races as the 2009 and 2010 Pacific Classic and 2010 Goodwood Stakes for Baffert before being sent to Dubai in late 2010 by owner Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Maktoum.

Richard’s Kid was winless in five starts in Dubai, but won his return to American racing in the minor Prove It Stakes over 1 3/8 miles here on June 8.

“When I got him from Dubai, he was in very good shape,” Baffert said.

“It’s like having a fresh Richard’s Kid.

“He loves synthetics. He’s going to move forward off that. He loves this track and he’ll be tough. Him and Game On Dude are good horses.”

The Gold Cup drew a field of seven. A win by a horse not trained by Baffert would be an upset.

The only other 2012 stakes winner in the field is Love Theway Youare, a 4-year-old filly trained by owner Myung Kwon Cho who won the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap here in an 18-1 upset on June 16.

Kettle Corn was second to Game On Dude in the Californian, and won the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap over 1 1/8 miles here last December.

The outsiders are the stakes winners Anthony’s Cross and Thirtyfirst street and the stakes-placed Spud Spivens. A top three finish by those runners would be considered a success.

Mark More than 1 year ago
When will medical technology catch up with Bob Baffert? It is obvious that all of his horses are being aided with something holy unnatural as he's just not that much better than everyone else. In the rare instance where Baffert drops his horses into the claiming ranks, as soon as they are claimed away from him, their form drops right off a cliff (even when they are claimed by other high percentage trainers). While there are a few trainers that are able to win @ 35-40%, those numbers are usually accomplished by aggressively placing their horses at claiming prices lower than they are worth. However, no trainer has ever been able to win that high a percentage with mainly stakes runners and I don't have a doubt in my mind that Baffert is using drugs on his horses. Notice how when Baffert runs his horses in Dubai, they don't run a step because Lasix is not allowed and trainers routinely hide performance enhancing drugs through adminstering Lasix. Once again, while Baffert is good, he's not that much better than everyone else and his horses need to be tested with the highest possible scrutiny and I hope the CHRB looks into the matter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a pretty good field for the Californian. What's that you say? The Californian was last month? This is the Gold Cup? You've got to be kidding me. Could the Gold Cup be in danger of being dropped to a GII?
AlanFrench1 More than 1 year ago
Should be a fun race. Can't wait. www.facebook.com/socalhorseracing
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
First of all, the Beyer Speed Figure is an inexact science with arbitrarily subjective opinions. I would throw out the 115 earned by Game on Dude in a 4 horse field carry less weight than Prayer for Relief. Further analysis would reveal that: 1) Richard's Kid is a much better horse than GoD on synthetics ($1.7mil earned vs $0.25mil). 2) Under Bob Baffert, Richard's Kid is 3 for 8 going 10+ furlongs while GoD is 1 for 6. 3) Richard's Kid has won 3 grade 1 races while GoD has won 2. 4) Game on Dude has never won when he was top weighted. Now he has to give 4 pounds to Richard's Kid, who has never lost under Bob Baffert when he's in receipt of weight except once by a nose. Richard's Kid should be favored over GoD, yet in light of the 115 last race BSF, GoD is likely to go off at 3-5 and Richard's Kid about 2-1 to 3-1. This is a no brainer. I will be placing a very large win bet on Richard's Kid.
Dawood K More than 1 year ago
Wat large bet ? You are full of S***
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
look for grass is greener to be homeless after this,,first off,, this is not a race to bet for there are tons of other races at much better odds than this race which is a walk over for game on dude for there is not an ounce of speed in this race nor any good horses..anyone who goes by beyers speed figures hardly win for they are worthless and based on a performance which has no bearing on what kind of horse it is nor what type of horses it runs against...handicapping is a skill and not a game of numbers such as the worthless beyers numbers are..beyer probably worked at cal tech trying to figure out particles in the air.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Come back tomorrow after the race, and learn. With blinkers just switched on, Positive Response dueled 1-5 Tapizar into defeat in the 2011 Robert B Lewis. Guess what? Blinkers switching on again in the Hollywood Gold Cup. So don't tell me not an ounce of speed. Learn.....
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
grass is greeners name comes from the fact he smokes bad grass and of course,,there was no speed and mabye if grass trys speed, he might think faster...you put your mouth where the boot is and the boot kicked you,,
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
All the $$ I have with me at post time. I'm starting the day off with $5000. I have looked through the day's races, I think I will have more than $5000 for the Gold Cup. My first race will be at 1:23pm BEL race 2. I will be in the box seat area. I'll probably hang around at Belmont first floor simulcasting area after the last race at BEL. Come look for me there. Feel free to say hello. You can't miss me, I'll probably be the only one left there who looks like I have $5000. Look in the parking lot, after 8:30pm my car is probably the only one that was over $100k sticker.
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
i SAW GRASS IS GREENER IN THE PARKING LOT in his boxers for he lost his shirt and pants and also I saw them towing his car away for he bet that also,,,this guy is such a bragger that by posting his loony pick, he showed the world that he cannot handicap and as he put it"ill probably be the only one left there who looks like i have $5000",,sadly, he may look like he has that but truth is,,the guy is broke
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
he started the day with $5000 and went home naked
Mooch J More than 1 year ago
No matter who wins, Game on Dude should and will be favored
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
grass is greener wants to get mugged...also he or she has an ego bigger than the universe but no brain and therefore,,this person posts how much money he or she loses if he or she can even pay to get into the track...
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Stop it you're cracking me up. I've said it so many times that I'm in owner box E9 at Belmont Park. I am actually a university graduate with a BS and an MS. I haven't used my degrees in decades. I have a genius IQ but you're right, my brain is probably dead from years of abuse (substance and also getting knocked around a bit). It appears that IQ has nothing to do with the brain, you're born with it. In a previous life, I've been to county jail many times and I've been sent upstate a couple of times too, so I know a thing or two about mugging. You always want to pick a suitable target. If you see me, you'll know that I can handle myself and you'll suspect that I might have a death wish too. I am a horrible mugging target. The good news is that I don't carry on my person money that I cannot afford to lose. Who knows? Depending on my mood, I might just give it to you because I am a changed man, I really have had it with law enforcement. They don't play fair. For example, when I handicap races I only have to hit about 30% to make $$ (I bet mostly win only), so I could be 7 for 20 for the day and be very profitable. But when you play with law enforcement, I must have beaten them by about 50-5, yet they put me through hell for the 5 losses. That's where I'm coming from. Be humble, go ahead and state your opinion. There is no need to insult others and put people down.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't get too invested in those synth records as it concerns the Hollywood Gold Cup. Not all synth surfaces are the same, and Hollywood's Cushion Track is different from Del Mar's Polytrack, Dubai's Tapeta, and Santa Anita's old Pro-Ride. Most synth surfaces play kindly to horses with a turf affinity, background, or breeding and can be tough on pure dirt horses. And it is true Game on Dude is a dirt horse. His 2 worst performances, by far, the last 2 years were on Del Mar's Poly and Dubai's Tapeta. The Hollywood Cushion Track, however, is different from these other synthetics, and plays more like dirt than turf. As a fan and someone that handicaps, typically I don't spend too much time worrying about how a horse will transition from the Santa Anita dirt to the Hollywood Cushion Track, or vice versa; the transition between meets, and jumping from synth to dirt and back to synth, has been fairly smooth these first 2 years since Santa Anita returned to dirt. Like many other "dirt" horses, Game on Dude has had no problem with Hollywood's Cushion Track. He ran a winning race in last year's Gold Cup, putting away Twirling Candy before getting tagged on the wire by stablemate First Dude. And his Californian speaks for itself. Looking at the last 2 Hollywood Gold Cups supports my belief that dirt form translates well onto Cushion Track. The 2010 Gold Cup winner, Awesome Gem, is good on all 3 surfaces, but best these days on dirt, and last year's winner, First Dude, entered the race with a clear preference for dirt over synth. So, Game on Dude is going to be just fine on the surface. If he gets beat, it won't be because he dislikes the surface. With that said, Richard's Kid is a very underrated horse, and as a horse that can run on all synth surfaces, he's had good success over the Hollywood Cushion. He was a good 3rd in the 10' Gold Cup in his first start back from Dubai, and then later that year beat a quality field in the gr.1 Goodwood when Oak Tree ran its Fall Meet at Hollywood. If Game on Dude falters that last sixteenth, Richard's Kid will be right there to take advantage.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Your analysis is off: - First Dude: I don't understand how you could possibly claim that he had a clear preference for dirt. The fact is that every time First Dude start on a synthetic surface, he earned a career best Beyer Speed Figure up to that point and also the best finish in a Grade 1. Example #1, in his 3yo season when he ran in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, he matched his best BSF up to that point in his career and he finished 3rd in a G1 (better than all his previous finish in a G1 up to that point in his career). Later on in his 4yo season, he ran in the Hollywood Gold Cup which would also become his final career race, he managed to earn his best BSF ever and he finished first in a G1 for the 1st time. - First Dude's career record on synthetic was 1 win out of 3 starts or 33%, on a fast track it was 3 out of 14 or 21%. - First Dude could be a better horse on synthetic, but I will not make such declaration due to insufficient data. I am a fair and neutral handicapper, but I sure hell won't accept that First Dude was better on dirt. - Game on Dude's career record on synthetic is 1 win out of 4 starts or 25%, on a fast track it was 6 out of 11 or 55%. - Game on Dude is definitely a better horse on dirt.
Wayne Haehner More than 1 year ago
cold exacta Dude over Kid--mail it in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great race, huh? I can't wait until SA picks up the majority of race days. Synthetic racing is boring. Dirt and turf. That's racing.
Joe Holden More than 1 year ago
will game on dude bounce? that could happen but the field still might be good enough if he does