05/25/2013 1:33PM

Hollywood Park notes: Baffert splitting up Liaison, Game On Dude

Benoit & Associates
Liaison, the winner of the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap on May 4, will run in next Saturday's Grade 2 Californian for trainer Bob Baffert.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Over the next six weeks, trainer Bob Baffert’s runners will be tough to beat in major stakes for older horses on the main track at Betfair Hollywood Park.

In Saturday’s $150,000 Californian Stakes over 1 1/8 miles, Baffert has the leading contender in Liaison, the winner of the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap here May 4. The Grade 2 Californian is the last major prep race for the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6.

For the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup, Baffert plans to start California’s leading older horse, Game On Dude, who won the Santa Anita Handicap earlier this year. Game On Dude also won the Charles Town Classic in West Virginia on April 20 and resumed workouts earlier this month.

“I’m pointing him for the Gold Cup,” Baffert said. “I breezed him for the first time the other day. He looks good.”

Game On Dude won the 2012 Californian but was not nominated to the race this year. A start in the Hollywood Gold Cup will be Game On Dude’s third consecutive appearance in the race. A winner of 13 of 25 starts and $4,702,158, Game On Dude was second in the 2011 Gold Cup and won the race last year.

Liaison, 4, is unbeaten in two starts this year. He won the minor Santana Mile at Santa Anita on March 31.

The field for the Californian Stakes also may include Clubhouse Ride, second to Game On Dude in the Charles Town Classic; Kettle Corn, second to Liaison in the Mervyn LeRoy; and Batti Man and Rousing Sermon, first and second in an optional claimer May 17.

Willie B Awesome targets Proctor

Willie B Awesome, a full brother to 2011 Santa Anita Oaks winner Willa B Awesome, will be pointed to the $100,000 Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes for 2-year-olds June 15 after winning his second start in a maiden race Friday.

Willie B Awesome ($12.80) won the 4 1/2-furlong race by a half-length over Go First. By Awesome Gambler, Willie B Awesome races for a partnership and is trained by Walther Solis.

Friday’s maiden race for 2-year-olds was marred by a tragic accident involving 4-5 favorite Randino. In the final furlong, Randino, who led early, ducked to the inside and struck the rail, sustaining a severe leg injury. Randino was euthanized.

Garrett Gomez rode Randino. Gomez was hospitalized for precautionary tests but was released late Friday afternoon, according to his agent, Tony Matos.

Bejarano to serve 3-day suspension

Leading jockey Rafael Bejarano has withdrawn an appeal of a three-day suspension issued at Santa Anita in March and will miss three days of racing next week, from Friday through Sunday.

Bejarano will only be eligible to ride the designated races, which next week are two graded stakes – Saturday’s Californian Stakes and Sunday’s Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap.

On March 15, Bejarano was cited for careless riding aboard Unusual Lover, who finished fourth in a maiden race over a mile on turf. Through Friday, Bejarano led all riders at the spring-summer meeting with 27 wins. Edwin Maldonado and Joe Talamo were tied for second with 20 each.