02/25/2012 7:43PM

Santa Anita: Game On Dude assigned top weight of 123 for Big Cap

Benoit & Associates
Game On Dude will carry top weight of 123 pounds as he tries to defend his title in the Santa Anita Handicap.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Defending champion Game On Dude has been assigned top weight of 123 pounds for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap next Saturday.

The winner of the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 5 in his 2012 debut, Game On Dude will spot his rivals from three to 13 pounds, although that margin could be narrowed if some riders are unable to make lower weight assignments.

The 123-pound assignment is eight pounds higher than what Game On Dude carried in the 2011 running of the Big Cap. The last time Game On Dude ran in a handicap, in the Hollywood Gold Cup last July, he carried 118 pounds. He finished second by a nose in that race to stablemate First Dude, who has since been retired.

Other weights for the probable starters of the Grade 1 Big Cap are Ultimate Eagle, at 120; Prayer for Relief and Uh Oh Bango, at 117; Gladding, Ron the Greek, and Setsuko, at 116; Holladay Road and Twice the Appeal, at 114; Boxeur dues Rues, at 112; and Fiddlers Afleet, at 110 pounds.

Ultimate Eagle won the Grade 2 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds on Feb. 4, his third stakes win in his last four starts. The Big Cap will be his stakes debut outside of his age group and his first start over 1 1/4 miles on the main track.

Setsuko was second to Game On Dude in a roughly run Big Cap last year. The winner of an allowance race in his 2012 debut on Feb. 4, Setsuko’s 116-pound assignment is two pounds higher than what he carried in 2011. Setsuko has yet to win a stakes in his 17-race career.