02/03/2013 6:50PM

Santa Anita: Game On Dude overpowers three foes in San Antonio

Benoit & Associates
Game On Dude, ridden by Mike Smith, pays $2.10 to win after cruising to a 6 1/2-length win in the San Antonio Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Game On Dude was challenged for the lead for the first six furlongs of the $200,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday, a speed duel that would have softened many runners.

Game On Dude was not bothered. The leading older horse in California, Game On Dude shook off a pesky Basmati and had no competition in the final furlong, winning the ninth stakes of his career in the Grade 2 San Antonio.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Game On Dude ($2.10) won by 6 1/2 lengths over Clubhouse Ride, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.53. Game On Dude was such a heavy favorite that there was a minus win pool of $4,045.

Game On Dude won the San Antonio for the second consecutive year, a victory that makes him the favorite for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2. Game On Dude won the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap, but did not start in last year’s race.

Sunday, the early pressure that Game On Dude faced from the 12-1 outsider Basmati, through fractions of 23.38 and 46.78 seconds, did not overly concern Smith.

“In a short field, people make you do things because it’s more of a match race,” Smith said.

Game On Dude raced on the inside of the pair and was comfortable despite the challenge, Smith said. “You let him get into his rhythm,” he said. “That’s what I did and he was brilliant.”

Game On Dude shook loose from Basmati in early stretch and led by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining. Smith hand-rode Game On Dude to the finish.

Clubhouse Ride finished 13 3/4 lengths clear of Make Music For Me, who was 2 1/4 lengths in front of Basmati in a field of four. Chosen Miracle was scratched from the San Antonio field on Sunday after finishing seventh in Saturday’s Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes on turf.

Game On Dude races for Bernie Schiappa, Mercedes Stable, the Lanni family trust, and Joe Torre. A 6-year-old gelding by Awesome Again, Game On Dude is trained by Bob Baffert, who won three stakes over the weekend. Saturday, Baffert won the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes with Flashback and the Grade 2 Strub Stakes with Guilt Trip.

Game On Dude has won 11 of 23 starts and $3,252,158. Since finishing 12th in the Dubai World Cup last March, Game On Dude has won 5 of 7 starts, all stakes. The only losses in that span were a second in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar last August and a seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic here in November.

Smith rode Game On Dude for the second time in the San Antonio. He rode Game On Dude for the first time in the Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 1.

“He might be better this year,” Smith said. “The feeling he gave me today was more so than last time.”


James More than 1 year ago
THREE FOES...???? California racing is so pathetic they will running mach races very soon!!! close all Cal tracks and take that sophomoric HRTV with it!!!!
Robert Tuccille More than 1 year ago
well lets see ny is nor much better with there big stakes for older horses i mean the spa had a gade-1 race with 4 or 5 horses... n bel always as gaded races as there 3 or 4th race do to small or 5 horse races ...
Dee Englehart More than 1 year ago
I think he does look better this year. I am right there with you hating the 4 horse field. I think there should be at least 6 horses in a race. I did like Chantel as his jockey but Mike has him focused more on what he's doing. I think we are going to see a very different Game on Dude in 2013.
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
Game on Dude is such a focused runner. Very little head-bobbing. Every stride in rhythm. Intense. Love to watch him.
Dave More than 1 year ago
Surprising that they couldn't find some more horses to run here. I could see not wanting to take on Game on Dude, but they can't come up with some more to take a shot at a 2nd or 3rd in a 200K Grade 2?
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Chantel should have never been taken off him-lolk-DS
Ray Odyssey More than 1 year ago
are you serious? Must be a troll
Ray Odyssey More than 1 year ago
sorry just found out what lolk means.
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Marc Ferrell More than 1 year ago
We announced on Twitter on Friday that the newly turned 4 year old "Called to Serve" who posted 104 and 106 beyer's in his last races will be joining Ron The Greek and Game on Dude for the Big Cap. Called to Serve arrives in California on February 6th, a month ahead of time to prepare for the big day.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Awesome news for those of us out here in California and anyone anywhere who wants to see a number of really good horses square off at the classic distance of 10 furlongs. You'll find out a lot about Called to Serve because Game on Dude and Ron the Greek are really good horses, each looking for a second Big Cap. And others like Guilt Trip and Stephanoatsee aren't bad either.
Marc Ferrell More than 1 year ago
Thanks Jordan, you are correct this will be a huge test. I am all for watching a great horse race.
Matt Bernier More than 1 year ago
I've got to agree with Jordan in this case. In a day and age where most horses are retired following their three year old campaign, people should be happy to see Game On Dude still competing regularly. Whether he's a gelding or not, the owners should be credited for keeping him going. As long as he's telling everyone he still wants to run, let him run.
redboy More than 1 year ago
The 4 horse fields are a joke,really and i think the overall average for races is abouut 6 .5.. The pick 3 payoffs are a even bigger joke 7 to 8 dollars really that doesnt pay for the racing form much less lunch!
Wayne Haehner More than 1 year ago
Ron The Greek is a superior racehorse
Gerardo Helguera More than 1 year ago
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Ron the Greek is a very, very good horse. Hopefully, all these horses remain healthy and we can decide it on the track. Personally, I can't say right now which one I think is better.
Ronald Dodgen More than 1 year ago
Dude is the only older horse worth a dame in California the rest with their Grade II 98 & 99 Beyers are a joke.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
That might be true. Nonios had a shot to be an elite older horse, but he is on the sidelines now. The 3 year old crop from last year out in Cali couldn't overcome the early retirements of I'll Have Another, Bodemeister, Creative Cause, and Paynter's illness.