12/01/2012 7:18PM

Hollywood Park: Smith's clutch decision helps Game On Dude win the Native Diver

Benoit Photo
After breaking a bit slowly and being gunned to the lead, Game On Dude, right, turned back a strong challenge from Nonios in the upper stretch to win the Native Diver.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Mike Smith paid attention. Whether it was stated or inferred, there was no doubt that the reason he had received the mount on Game On Dude for the Grade 3, $242,500 Native Diver Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Saturday was because of dissatisfaction with the way Game On Dude was ridden in recent starts.

So when Game On Dude broke a half-step slowly, from the rail, Smith knew what he had to do. He gunned Game On Dude to the lead, despite the aggressive early tactics from Nonios and his jockey, Martin Pedroza.

Game On Dude never looked back. Even though Nonios tested him anew in the stretch, Game On Dude ($2.60) continued resolutely to the wire to score by 1 1/4 lengths over Nonios, with Kettle Corn another 4 1/4 lengths back in third. Richard’s Kid and Make Music for Me rounded out the field.

“He had a little hiccup coming out of the gate,” Smith said. “He was squatting a little.”

But Smith made up for lost time.

“You have to be aggressive. Sometimes, you have to go for broke,” said winning trainer Bob Baffert. “I thought Nonios was the horse to beat, and I figured Pedroza would get aggressive with him, try to get in Dude’s psyche.”

Game On Dude is prone to occasionally breaking slowly. The key for Baffert is what happens next.

“After about 50 yards, he picks up steam,” Baffert said. “He’s like a bus without brakes.”

Smith didn’t apply the brakes. Over a deep, tiring surface playing several seconds slower than par, Game On Dude clicked off quarter-mile fractions of 24.52 seconds, 49.81, 1:14.97, and 1:39.90 en route to a final time of 1:52.27 for 1 1/8 miles, one lap around the main Cushion Track surface at Hollywood Park.

“It’s a pretty demanding track, the way it is,” Baffert said.

The win was the 10th in 22 starts for Game On Dude, and his fourth in his last six starts. He most recently had finished seventh of 12 as the 6-5 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

“It was a shame that after running such great races all year, he had a bad race in the Breeders’ Cup,” Baffert said.

Game On Dude is owned by a partnership that includes Bernie Schiappa, Ernie Moody, Joe Torre, and Debbie Lanni. The Native Diver purse was increased this year owing to a supplement from the Oak Tree Racing Association. Game On Dude received a first prize of $137,500 to go over the $3 million mark for career earnings.

Skillful Joy: Reneesgotzip just gets up

Earlier in the day, favored Reneesgotzip ($2.60) just got up in the final strides to catch pacesetting Nechez Dawn by a neck and win the $70,440 Skillful Joy Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters going six furlongs. Curvy Cat was third.

The race was rained off the turf. Reneesgotzip was timed in 1:13.05 over the laboring surface.

Garrett Gomez rode Reneesgotzip for Peter Miller, who trains Reneesgotzip for Lanni. She was third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in her previous start. She has now won five times in nine starts.

HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Great ride by Mike Smith the ultimate legend!!
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
I guess some don't know how to read the Racing Form, according to what I see in the Form there are alot of G1 victories next to GOD's name, perhaps it was an oversight or someone needs glasses or they just might be new to the game and don't fully understand what all those numbers mean in the form. Anyway you don't earn over 3 million in purse money just being a G2 horse at best. Lame comment.................
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
I just read ALL the posts below...83% of you think "who-beat-who" is a winning system. haha. GAME ON DUDE IS A GII HORSE IF QUALITY FIELDS SHOW UP. NOT A GI HORSE BY NO MEANS.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
And your POINT IS???
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
I just don't see how the Ponies Payyou with that kind of mind set in this game, no matter what condition or what type of class field he is up against a W is a W in my book and that is what pays.......... DUH !!!!!!!!!
Mark More than 1 year ago
Marky Mark will appease the snooty meydan who equates profession with handicapping ability because she senses some truth to what i post. 1. Nino.Brown 2. Frank White 3. Tony Montana 4. Jimmy Conway 5. The Wizard
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Marky Mark - Please tell me that you're "top 5" in your chosen profession (if you have one). Bobby baffert is you know? All your haranguing is begining to sound.... ehh
Mark More than 1 year ago
Ehhh... meaning kind of like your verbiage?
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
My profession is handicapping and I am number 1. Yes, I will put my money where my mouth is on any east coast dirt/turf track with a 1 mile oval or more. Any amount. Any time........ ANDY????? A good chance to sell some more paperweights (books)
Mark More than 1 year ago
Nice 3rd 5th & 6 th place finishes in today s 6 horse stake. Lol. Way to go bobby!
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
You Know You Cant Win Them All (Not Even Zenyata)-lolk-DS
Lucio Clerico More than 1 year ago
fractions set it up for the 1st two
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
The fraction bias?
Mark More than 1 year ago
Baffert sucks! Lol
KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
look at Richards kid form under baffert and compare to the other 2 trainers that had him in last 3 years...
Mark More than 1 year ago
7 year old is washed up . Bottom line.
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Sounds Like You Had Your Money On BAFFERTS Horses-Right??-lolk-DS
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Hey everyone did you hear Mark had a winner....and he's STILL talking about it......Yaaaawn
Mark More than 1 year ago
Big Jeff. Must be named for your mouth.
You Feel Lucky More than 1 year ago
He said he had a winner..............doubtful........comng from such a loser.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Take a look there champ
Mark More than 1 year ago
You feel lucky. Please enlighten us all with a horse you like in the next few days. Just one. And post it here in reply to this message. Simple. One horse you like to win. Not even a double or exacta play. One winner. Come on champ. Lets have it. Or else close your mouth. Post your play in reply to this message champion of the year.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Or you can post it 30 days After the race, like Mark( see no name calling)
Mark More than 1 year ago
Btw minuscule jeffey. I simply replied to a post that someone put up saying in effect those of us knocking dude needed to show or $ we won by betting against him. I did not come out and just post this on my own. I did so in response to another message. Ok pal. Good. Now that we are clear.
PeterG More than 1 year ago
Chantal made the same "clutch decision" in the Pacific Classic and everybody crucified her for it. She should still be riding that horse.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
No knock on her, but anyone could ride this horse. He's an old pro - jus ty dat chicken oan him an kick dat latch!
Tom F More than 1 year ago
But that race was 1&1/4 and that sort of tactic doesn't help GOD in that long a race
ron breton More than 1 year ago
PETER watch the[ pac classic] again on u-tube..and u will see her come up beside david flores ....HE looks over at her THEN he looks Behind then he's thinking ...What in Hell are U doing....TO Soon TO Soon.....i would like to see a response from u Peter.....