04/19/2014 11:50PM

Imperative outguns Game On Dude in Charles Town Classic

Coady Photography
Imperative, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, connects at 26-1 odds in the Charles Town Classic.

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Despite watching Imperative get beat nearly 18 lengths by Game On Dude in last month’s Santa Anita Handicap, trainer George Papaprodromou didn’t lose faith in the 4-year-old gelding he claimed last December for $50,000.

Papaprodromou - and his owner Kenji Morinagia - were rewarded for that faith to the tune of $1 million as Imperative, ridden by Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux, ran by Game On Dude in the final furlong to win Saturday night’s $1.5 million Charles Town Classic by 1 1/2 lengths. Game on Dude, who won this race last year, finished second by 1 1-2 lengths over Moreno. It was two lengths back to Clubhouse Ride, who was followed in the order of finish by Long River, Ruler of Love, and Lucy’s Bob Boy.

Sent off at 26-1, Imperative returned $55 to win. The winner’s share of the $1.5 million purse was $1 million, nearly 10 times what Imperative’s earnings were entering the race.

The win was the third from 15 career starts for Imperative, a gelding by Bernardini. It was his first for these connections in five starts.

“I always believed in this horse. I always liked the way he was training,” said Papaprodromou, who is based at Santa Anita. “He’s a great horse, well bred and all that. I shipped him cross country to prove it.”

Papaprodromou was willing to dismiss Imperative’s non-effort in the Santa Anita Handicap because the gelding run such a strong race when second to Blingo in the Grade 2 San Antonio, finishing six lengths in front of Game On Dude, who was fifth.

“I beat Game On Dude in the San Antonio. I knew my horse bounced in the Santa Anita Handicap and here we are,” Papaprodromou said.

Desormeaux had Imperative next to last early on as Game On Dude dueled outside Moreno through a quarter-mile in 23.47 seconds and a half-mile in 46.85.

Imperative dragged Imperative to just behind the leaders with 4 1/2 furlongs remaining.

Moreno backed off the pace, but Game On Dude was tackled by Long River, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.

Imperative made a three-wide move toward the leaders, poked a head in front turning for home, and gradually edged clear of Game On Dude, who also finished second in this race in 2011 to Duke of Mischief.

“The second turn I was running over the top of them,” Desormeaux said. “I pitched him out and he took off and ran even faster, got to them, put his nose on their rump. I slowed him down. He got that big breather from the three-eighths to inside the quarter. By the time we got to the eighth pole, I hadn’t even asked him yet, and he was already passing them. When I cued them he just exploded.”

Imperative covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.56.

Last year, when Game On Dude won the Classic, Smith said he felt the horse wasn’t getting a hold of the track, in part due to the fact he wore glue-on shoes. Game On Dude wore regular shoes on Saturday but Smith said he still felt Game On Dude struggled with the track.

“The first turn I said ‘it ain’t the shoes,’ “ Smith said. “He just doesn’t ever get a hold of it and get over the top of it. [Long River] made an early move at us, trying to beat us of course, which probably cost me some, but the winner seemed to get a hold of it a whole lot better than we did. … We’ll live to fight again.”

Cris McHenka More than 1 year ago
Aside from the horse and his camp, the real winner of this race was his jockey. Kent has always been a excellent rider and hopefully people with a hot Derby horse will see he derserves a come back. Putting up with loudmouth drunks in the winners circle with grace. He took it all and he and his horse were covered in mud. Mike was right, it was not the Dude's type of surface. Older horses need a few races to peak. The Dude is just about there.
Sherry Wood More than 1 year ago
No... the Dude simply needs a chiro. From his T-3 all the way back. Damn, it amazes me how many of your horses don't win because you are simply NOT AWARE ! You say they stop running because they are old, didn't like the jockey, had an "off' day, or new shoes, etc, etc, etc, etc, Check their spines
JDS0810 More than 1 year ago
IT shocks me that every comment on here is about Game on Dude or Mike Smith or Bob Baffert. Congrats to George Papaprodromou for claiming this horse for $50K and winning this grand race! Superior triaining job!
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
An old racetrack saying. "THEY ALL EVENTUALLY GET BEAT.
Sherry Wood More than 1 year ago
Its very true....but some of it is because of the failure of the trainers to recognize that their horse was not at they best level of health.
Westin Niles More than 1 year ago
Baffert should of brought along Dennis Moore. That's the only way Game On Dude wins races.
Art Brown More than 1 year ago
Imperative had a nice trip and allowed the pace to take its toll on Game on dude before bowing by him. Take the starch out of Game on dude and he's beatable. Pace makes the race.
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
Mike Smith is right. He can't get a hold of it. $1 million to the man not afraid to run his horse. The good thing is next time they'll be more than 7 entries. I wish i had a 1/7 chance of winning a million.
Vincent More than 1 year ago
When are horseplayers going to stop comparing all time earnings to other champions of yesteryear. Comparing Game on Dude's earnings in an inflated world of purses to John Henry's earnings is pointless. John Henry was a better horse than Game on Dude. Some misguided horseplayers a few years ago compared Curlin's lifetime earnings to Secretariats who ran in the the 70's. Does anone out there want to advance the theory that Curlin was better than Secretariat? I think not.
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Well that sounds pretty good ... to bad it isn't true . John Henry was running in Big Caps worth 1 million Dude has been running in Big Caps only worth 750000 .
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude didn't fold here. When you go 46 around the bullring, that's very fast, probably like 45 around a bigger configuration. He was dogged by a solid speed horse in Moreno and by the cheap local horse, and when he disposed of them there was the close 2nd choice Long River to jump on him. And he broke that horse's will. He just couldn't also turn back Imperative. This is very different from true fold jobs in the 2011 Pacific Classic, the 2012 Dubai World Cup, the 2012 and 2013 BC Classics, and this year's San Antonio. The difference is that here, he still had the lead turning for home, so he kept running to salvage 2nd. People get on Dude for losing outside of Cali, but like in the Clark he conceded weight here, and when he won this race last year it was dismissed. So, there's no winning. But keep in mind he lost this race to a fellow Cali horse, a horse who has now faced Dude 3 straight times, beating him twice. Imperative is probably best at 9f, and really runs the turns well. Look at his inside move on the far turn of the San Antonio. The fact is, Dude just isn't as good now as he was in 2012 or last year. He's lost 4 of his last 5. The Big Cap showed he can still run an A race, but he's just not going to be able to do it consistently. This effort reminded me of his 2011 CT Classic 2nd, maybe a little better becuz of pace.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Game over Dude . Paper plane. Step away and move on.
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Not hardly Hambone .
Mark More than 1 year ago
1/5 last 5 . OK keep sending it in . Lol. #blindasabat
Paul Aussenhofer More than 1 year ago
Yes he's 1-5 in his last 5. But let's nor forget he just beat the two best older horses in America (MMM & WTC). Perhaps the consistancy may not be there but the Dude can still compete with the best on any given day. Certainly not Game Over Dude quite yet
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
So whose your horse fella? You sound like all the guys who in my younger days who wouldn't have sex with girls because they were too fat or had a big nose, but died being virgins.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
Do you think Game on Dudes owners care if folks are on here dogging him? The horse collects checks! OK, he blew a stinker and collected a measly couple hundred thousand for running second. Next time, he will win 500k just like last time. His resume does not matter as he isnt auditioning for stud duty. He is just collecting checks. Dog him all you need guys. He is one of the top career earners in American Thoroughbred history.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
Regardless of inflation!
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Amenm, amen... AMEN!!!! Boards are for us.. with no skin in the game while they sit back and count Game on Dude CASH! One day, please God let me in so my horse can get laughed at and derided here! Lol
alanstern2 More than 1 year ago
You can take the Dude out of California but you can't take California out of the Dude.
edb More than 1 year ago
Cal. chrome rerun??????????????????????????????????????
Jackson Jackson More than 1 year ago
Are you serious fool ??? The top 4 finishers train in California Momo !