02/08/2014 6:18PM

Santa Anita: Blingo surprises in San Antonio as Game On Dude fades to fifth

Benoit & Associates
Blingo, ridden by Aaron Gryder, pays $33.80 after rallying to win the San Antonio.

ARCADIA, Calif.- An ideal trip behind a fast pace gave Blingo the biggest win of his career in Saturday’s $300,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita, a race in which 1-5  favorite Game On Dude fought through a speed duel and faded to finish fifth in his 2014 debut.

Blingo ($33.80) closed from fifth in a field of seven to edge 26-1 Imperative by a half-length in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes over 1 1/8 miles.

Game On Dude, the winner of the San Antonio Stakes in 2012 and 2013 and 11 other stakes, fought with Blueskiesnrainbows through a quick pace of 22.75 and 46.26 seconds, and faded from contention in the final furlong. A 7-year-old, Game On Dude finished 6 1/2 lengths behind Blingo.

Blingo, who races for Jerry and Ann Moss and is trained by John Shirreffs, was timed in 1:47.95. Aaron Gryder rode the winner. American Blend finished third.

Trainer Bob Baffert said Game On Dude’s front-running style is a tactic that cannot be changed, regardless of the competition.

“The thing about Dude is you’ve got to let him run,” Baffert said. “We’re not changing his style if a horse goes out there like that. They were going pretty fast. They went really fast the first quarter.”

The San Antonio Stakes was Game On Dude’s first start since a second to Will Take Charge in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29.

After Saturday’s race, Baffert downplayed the presence of a patched quarter crack on Game On Dude’s right front foot.

“That’s nothing,” he said.

Game On Dude was so heavily favored that he attracted $371,930 of the $440,283 bet to show. Race winner Blingo paid $27.20 to show, Imperative paid $22.40 to show and American Blend paid $25.80.

Blueskiesnrainbows, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, led from the start, holding a half-length advantage over Game On Dude, who was ridden by Mike Smith. Those two had a five-length advantage on Imperative on the first turn.

Jockey Kent Desormeaux, aboard Imperative , was first to move toward the leaders, closing along the inside on the backstretch. At that stage, Blingo was fifth, racing about 10 lengths behind the leaders.

 “When he broke, he settled in beautifully,” Gryder said of Blingo. “I was very happy.  I wanted him in a stride where he was comfortable.”

There were three horses across the track on the turn, with Game On Dude widest, with a quarter-mile remaining.

“He tried a little bit” on the turn, Baffert said. “He just got tired.”

Gryder guided Blingo four-wide entering the stretch. Blingo caught the eye with a strong rally.

“At the three-eighths pole, I had to find some room,” Gryder said.

Imperative, on the inside, and Blingo, racing outside, were separated by a head with a furlong remaining. Blingo outran his rival through the final sixteenth, but the runner-up earned the respect of Gryder.

“Imperative ran the race of his life,” Gryder said. “He got to me but he never got by me. My horse showed courage to be the winner.”

Blingo, a 5-year-old gelding by Artie Schiller, was sixth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes behind Blueskiesnrainbows here on Jan. 11. Blingo won the minor La Puente Stakes on turf as a 3-year-old in 2012, and the I’m A Banker Stakes at Belmont Park last October. He has won 4 of 11 starts and earned $364,408.

Prior to the San Antonio Stakes, Blingo’s best finish in a graded stakes was a fourth  in the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap for 3-year-olds on turf at Del Mar in August  2012.


Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
what a lizard *im prepared for the downvotes*
Art Brown More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude is a year older and a step slower. He will not be able to recreate the same speed figures this year unless he faces inferior competition. I hade him pegged to lose like he did and he will ultimately be forced to face lower competition. The days of Grade 1's are over. He's on the downhill slide now.
Chuck Kendrew More than 1 year ago
Mike Smith made a bad ride and GoD is not the same horse he was two years ago. Not really much else to the story, except Steve Anderson didn't state the obvious.
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
The article was OK - as far as it went. BUT Here is the real story right from the horse's mouth (GOD). First her best friend, Chantal got in a situation where Mike Smith wouldn't make a long term commitment. Then Jill took her best friend, (yep) Chantal off him. Well GOD didn't have a chance to talk to Chantal until she returned to ride again and when he found out all that had transpired he "hit the roof". Put out for Jill or Mike both of whom did Chantal wrong - not in this lifetime. Game On Dude feels bad about those who bet on him, but like he told Chantal "I'm just reacting to my friend being done wrong". AND that;s the rest of the story.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Can you inform us if Shared Belief lets you know he is ready soon?
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
Shared Belief would be my derby horse, if he runs. However, The only case of a horse talking (beside Mr. Ed) is Chantal's relationship with Game On Dude - sorry.
Brent Sedo More than 1 year ago
Have you ever read Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley? If not, you should.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Talk about speed duel, Fury Kapcori won a one mile allowance at Santa Anita on Friday dueling with Batti Man through fractions of 21 and 4, 44 and 1, and 1:08 and 2.
Walter More than 1 year ago
I still wonder how Fury kept going after that duel? He is either that good, or the horses trailing him were that bad and couldn't gain. That race was a head scratcher for me.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
With tiznow,he may get better with age and distance.
gus stewart More than 1 year ago
oops walter maybe since the dorf over the last 8 years just learned how to train because before he adapted to the added fuel that most top trainers have been doing for the last 15 years his horse only dominated in sf against weaker animals. This seems to give their horses much more breathing capacities, that may be why a horse can go 108 in a duel and keep going!!!!! just maybe!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For all those insisting that it was a so-called speed duel that got Dude beat yesterday, please go and watch the 2011 Goodwood. 9 furlongs, at Santa Anita, over a surface very similar to the one yesterday. That day, Dude was outside Tres Borrachos in an extended duel. They went 22 and 1, 45 and 1. Dude kept turning the screws going 6f in 1:09 flat. This kept everyone else about 5 lengths away. At this point, Dude had TB whenever he wanted, he looked in control and comfortable. For those that think Blueskies is better than Tres Borrachos, keep in mind TB retired a millionaire, multiple graded stakes winner, multiple grade 1 placed, and was a next out 3rd in the BC Dirt Mile after the Goodwood. If Dude ran yesterday like he did in that Goodword, he would have either had a clear early lead or burned up Blueskies much earlier. And Imperative would not have been closer than 2 lengths at any point, which was the case with Coil, who stalked in 3rd in that 2011 Goodwood. Yesterday, Dude couldn't put away Blueskies before Imperative was all over him, even though the pace was much slower than in 2011. In that Goodwood, like a number of other races, Dude was able to create his own breather by stringing together some amazing internal quarters, burning out his speed rivals and his pursuers alike. Yesterday, he had to labor just to be on even terms with Blueskies through a slower pace, struggled to get his head in front of Blueskies on the far turn, and wasn't able to create separation from the rest of the field. Or do folks believe Imperative is better than Coil? In that 2011 Goodwood, the early fractions did take their toll on Dude, but he was still able to hold off the multi-millionaire grade 1 winner Awesome Gem. Or do folks believe Blingo is better than Awesome Gem? Dude's Beyer of 102 for the Goodwood, which was low compared to his 12' and 13" figs, suggest he would have won yesterday's race by at least 2.
Jon More than 1 year ago
Word from the Jocs mouth: “Mike Smith, regular rider of Game On Dude, admitted he let the tempo get away from him when his mount challenged Blueskiesnrainbows.”….From BH
Jordan More than 1 year ago
what is he going to say, the horse is over the hill? Smith gave typical jockey, athelete talk.
Tina Baker More than 1 year ago
Didn't this washed up horse just finish 2nd to WTC in the gr1 Clark last race?
St.patrick Reid More than 1 year ago
GOD rearly beat good horses thru out his career
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I have been a big supporter of Dude, and believed he got a raw deal not winning the Eclipse for older male last year. I hope I'm wrong about Dude being past his prime, but the evidence from yesterday and even the Clark make it appear that way.
Joan More than 1 year ago
GOD has done enough. He is a fan horse. Find him a nice race and let him retire with grace. Then send him to The Kentucky Horse Park and let his fans enjoy him. The owners need to think of the horse and shut their ATM down. As far as BAffert, well I won't even go there.
denali1 More than 1 year ago
If you owned him i doubt you would be writing this on a DRF blog. Please he is in good hands. Lets just hope he stays healthy so maybe one day you can go to the park to see him.
Joan More than 1 year ago
I own OTTB, and if i owned him I would retire him. You don't know me so don't presume to. I have not bet GOD in the last 3 years. I don't bet Baffert horses period.
Jon More than 1 year ago
“Mike Smith, regular rider of Game On Dude, admitted he let the tempo get away from him when his mount challenged Blueskiesnrainbows.”….From BH In the last few week’s Garcia had out done MS when MS had the barn’s better horse. Take for example, the Robert B Lewis race later yesterday, MS had Midnight Hawk & Martin had the speedy (just like GOD) Chitu & yet note that MG finished ahead of MS. All the disasters that MS had on GOD were because MS either did not have the patience or could not control GOD. I remember a similar situation many years ago when Russell B lost on a Hollendorfer horse and was giving some excuse and immediately Jerry stopped him & said “Don’t give that BS”. I have been a big supporter of Baffert in this forum, but, yet I differ with him having MS on GOD many times. If GOD has to return to his winning way’s my first choice would be Garcia followed with the other HOF Geary, then Chantal. Both, Rafael & MS have been a failure on GOD on the races he lost, which were the crucial races. “The thing about Dude is you’ve got to let him run,” Baffert said. “We’re not changing his style if a horse goes out there like that. They were going pretty fast. They went really fast the first quarter.” Wrong, Bob, there was a horse ahead of GOD in 2 races (although the charts do not show it) when Garcia & Chantal rode him & yet he relaxed and won. The best race GOD ran was with Garcia & watch the tape replay & see that there were 2 important split second decisions Martin had to make to avoid a disaster.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Im not predicting it,but if this horse comes back and wins the Big Cap alot of people are looking for crow recipes
denali1 More than 1 year ago
Oh boy now you have done it. All those who think the Dudes done will be chomping on the bit after watching this race. He is not done but its obvious his better races are behind him. Smith tries to get him the lead because he knows the Dudes not gonna roll no other way. Game on Dude will win some races but not if there's any speed to go with him. Maybe they better pick spots where he can be the lone speed and he can run his race. The fractions didn't cost him this race 22 and change followed by a 46+ at the half.... so i rule out the speed duel theories. Fact is if he isn't in front from start to finish he usually won't be in front when they cross the finish line. Lol feel sorry for all you show bettors (not really)...rule one in the game never bet your house on any horses first race back of any type of layoff especially at 1-5. Ouch!!!!!!!
denali1 More than 1 year ago
One more thing any type of quarter crack patch surely isn't a positive sign!
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude has won plenty of races not on a lone lead. Examples: His maiden win, the 2010 Lone Star Derby, his 2011 allowance, 2011 Big Cap, 2011 Goodwood, 2012 San Antonio, 2012 Hollywood Gold Cup, 2012 Awesome Again, 2013 San Antonio, and 2013 Charles Town Classic. But other than that clarification, I agree with your premise he has lost a step or two. If he needs the lead now and needs softer fractions it is because he is not as good anymore.
denali1 More than 1 year ago
Hey Jored thanks for the reply. I understand ...yes he has won like that in the past but that was the past. In my post i was referring to his present form take nothing away from him. He is far from finished its his first race back plus has a supposedly patch. Dude seemed to get a little winded no big deal.....hes not tuned up yet . He has a few more grade one wins in him.