03/03/2013 4:54PM

Santa Anita: Game On Dude being considered for Charles Town Classic

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Emily Shields
Game On Dude pulls away in the stretch to win the Santa Anita Handicap by 7 3/4 lengths.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Game On Dude was not all there when he romped to a record win in Saturday’s $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap.

“He blew a front shoe,” trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday.

Baffert was not sure when Game On Dude lost the shoe in the race, but said the 6-year-old gelding did not suffer a bruise or any other negative effects.

Game On Dude won the Big Cap by 7 3/4 lengths, a record margin for the race over 1 1/4 miles. Carrying top weight of 125 pounds, Game On Dude led throughout under jockey Mike Smith, pulling away from eight rivals in the stretch.

“Game On Dude was able to add to his resume,” Baffert said. “He was supposed to win. He was supposed to do that.”

The Big Cap was Game On Dude’s third consecutive stakes win, preceded by the Native Diver Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park in December and the San Antonio Stakes here last month. The Big Cap win helped to erase the disappointment of a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic here last November, a race that cost Game On Dude a chance at the 2012 Horse of the Year title.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 is the long-term goal for Game On Dude. How he is campaigned through the spring and the rest of the year remains uncertain. Saturday, Baffert mentioned the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic in West Virginia on April 20 as a possibility, but did not commit that race Sunday.

“We’ll have to see,” he said.

Game On Dude has run well at Charles Town, having finished second to Duke of Mischief in the 2011 Charles Town Classic. That race was preceded by Game On Dude’s win in the 2011 Big Cap. Game On Dude’s victory in Saturday’s running made him the fourth horse to win two runnings of the Big Cap, joining John Henry (1981-82), Milwaukee Brew (2002-03), and Lava Man (2006-07).

Game On Dude is owned Bernie Schiappa, Mercedes Stable, the Lanni Family Trust, and Joe Torre. A 6-year-old gelding by Awesome Again, Game On Dude has won 12 of 24 starts and $3,702,158.

Clubhouse Ride and Called to Serve were second and third in the Big Cap, and they are unlikely to start in the Charles Town Classic.

Clubhouse Ride, trained by Craig Lewis for Nikolas Petralia and Six-S Racing Stable, earned $150,000 for the runner-up finish, the richest payday of his 26-race career. A 5-year-old horse, Clubhouse Ride was second to Game On Dude in the San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 3.

In the Big Cap, Clubhouse Ride (27-1) was fourth early, a clear second in early stretch, and was fully extended to hold off Called to Serve by a nose. The second-place finish left Clubhouse Ride with career earnings of $619,620.

“When I bought him for $22,000 at Barretts, I never thought he’d be second in the Big Cap,” Lewis said Saturday.

Clubhouse Ride was purchased as a 2-year-old at the 2010 Barretts January mixed sale.

Called to Serve made his first start in a Grade 1 in the Big Cap. He was fourth on the final turn and closed well along the rail under Gary Stevens.

Trainer Nick Canani said that he and owner Marc Ferrell are considering the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap in Arkansas on April 13 or the $300,000 Pimlico Special in Baltimore on May 17 for Called to Serve’s next start.

Canani thought that the 4-year-old Called to Serve could have finished better if he had avoided traffic on the turn.

“He kind of got shuffled going into the far turn, and I think it cost him second,” he said. “He likes to race on the outside.”

Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
If It Were Any Other Combo They Could Have Have Been DQed-lolk-DS
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
For all of us who saw Mike Smith take Game on Dude wire to wire in The Big Cap witnesses a perfect ride by the master. Broke straight out for about 110 yards before coming in right next to Handsome Mike and jock Martin Garcia . I would say that fellow riders in that colony learned how to race ride a little bit after that showing by Smith. I am sure the Garcia after the race ran in the jocks room and changed is underwear to.
Dave More than 1 year ago
Mike Smith takes quite a beating on these forums. I do not know why. I guess because he lost all 3 TC races in very close beats last year. Hey, did anyone ever consider that without Mike Smith aboard Bodemeister and Paynter ,maybe would have been beaten by more? Same with Mucho Macho Man in the BC Classic. Anyone remember Smith getting Zenyatta up at the wire time and time and time again?
Dave More than 1 year ago
So many have called out the Dude for not winning on the East coast. I'd be surprised if the connections decide to go East and not take down something in NY or at Churchill
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Well Dave, They might go 'wild n wonderful'!
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I can't think of a better way to stamp this horse as the best horse in the country by running him under the lights, in a bull ring, affectionately known as Chucktown. One million to the winner, easy money for Dude, he adds another grade 2 to his resume, and no one can say he can't win outside southern CA anymore. Announcing this as a consideration is good strategy. Money always has a loud voice.
Steven Simonovic More than 1 year ago
Baffert should send him to Oaklawn for the OP Handicap.
John Pisiona More than 1 year ago
What's with the Ca. Stewards? It was obvious that Dude came over on Handsome Mike causing him to steady and take up first time through the stretch. I guess Smith and Baffert are untouchable. As usual the TVG crew did not mention that. Why a Ca. Horse can do no wrong. In N.Y there would have been a stewards inquiry, if not a jockey objection. While I'm bashing Ca. Racing, has there ever been a race that went off on time?
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
Look at the head-on. As Mike Smith said, he put no one in danger...he was at least a length away from any other horse, including Handsome Mike. It's called gutsy riding. Smith said he was willing for any other horse to step up and take the lead, and when none did, he took his shot. Brilliant move.
joseph More than 1 year ago
That same move will get a DQ @ Charles Town, the stews there are just brutal and they will take down a horse who blew the field apart and did nothing more than possibly "intimidate" another rider/horse.
Damon Tobias More than 1 year ago
Small track, what do u expect from a 3rd rate track trying to be like the big boys!
john p More than 1 year ago
Mr.John ,I'm sorry to tell you ,that rider on that horse made a dumb move.He should have stood his ground ,no reason to pull out.He should have waited until game on dude cleared him,then he could have stayed on the rail or tip out a little.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Race riding, one of the best in the US. What do you want? Take down the winner? Biggest margin in 76 years. You want your money back?
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
SA has been on time the whole season. Post time plus a minute or two, maybe three or four later in the day. The delay on Big Cap day was, I suppose, because of Big Cap Day. A 20 minute gap between post and race is normal in Del Mar, but not SA. And the CA stewards have been discussed. In the minds of many they are preferable over NY, because they won't DQ a horse if an incident didn't influence the outcome of the race. Much more fair towards people with money on the race.
Damon Tobias More than 1 year ago
If u look at the head on of the start which i watched 4 times to see what people are talking about, he didn't touch handsome mike. Handsome Mike look like he was spooked at Game on Dude coming over so fast and Handsome mike jock pulled him up slightly. Just watch it and you shall see!
Chas More than 1 year ago
John...If you think the stewards should have done something to Game On Dude for his 'clean move' Saturday, then go watch the replay of his 2011 Cap win! There was a more 'clear' reason to take Dude down, no question...Saturday's move was clean and good, Handsome Mike overreacted thanks to his jockey, the head on clearly shows that...
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Agreed But Dont Blame MGRCIA--lolk-DS
R. Carlos Nanez More than 1 year ago
oops ! heart
R. Carlos Nanez More than 1 year ago
Game On Dude is a good horse as long if everything goes his way, but not a great horse . IF he gets in trouble early, he is out of the race, really good horses they find the way to overcame that and still win or just get beat,because they have the hart. Game On Dude don't have the hart to be a really good horse.
Bruce Baudoux More than 1 year ago
But he sure has the bank account should he choose to go and buy a new heart! It's about money buddy and this guy keeps racking it up. Give him the respect he deserves, all horses can be beat.
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
If you owned him he would have heart. What about the others in the race, I guess they have no heart either.
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
Since they added a shadow roll on Clubhouse he's a different horse
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
As The Euros Say (Best In The WORLD)-He Could Be-_LOLK-DS