02/04/2013 3:15PM

Santa Anita: Game On Dude posts 116 Beyer in San Antonio; Santa Anita Handicap next

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Game On Dude’s 116 Beyer Speed Figure not only equalled a career high, but is the top mark so far in 2013.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Game On Dude equaled a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 116 with his win in Sunday’s $200,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita, a performance that will make him a strong favorite for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2.

The San Antonio Stakes was witnessed by Joe Torre, Game On Dude’s co-owner and the retired manager of the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Torre sat with trainer Bob Baffert for the race and admitted to a few anxious moments when Game On Dude was fighting for the lead with Basmati.

“I’m not an expert, but I have been around athletes all my life,” Torre said. “I was sitting next to Bob. When he said at the top of the stretch, ‘This horse has got plenty left,’ I relaxed a little bit.”

Game On Dude pulled away from three rivals to win by 6 1/2 lengths, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.53 for his ninth career stakes win. Game On Dude won the 2012 San Antonio and the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap.

He did not run in the 2012 Santa Anita Handicap, but was 12th in the Dubai World Cup last March.

A 6-year-old gelding, Game On Dude also earned a 116 Beyer with a win in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park last June.

Game On Dude leads a Santa Anita Handicap field expected to include defending champion Ron the Greek, who won the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26.

Baffert faces a pivotal decision in coming weeks whether to start Guilt Trip, winner of the $200,000 Strub Stakes on Saturday.

Guilt Trip had an ideal trip to win the Grade 2 Strub Stakes over 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds, stalking the pace before drawing off to win by 1 1/2 lengths over the Florida shipper Stephanoatsee.

Most Strub winners are automatic entrants for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, though Baffert held back from that commitment Sunday.

“We’ve got a lot of time to think about that,” Baffert said. “We’re not in a hurry. We’ve got a lot of options. Any horse can go a mile and a quarter with the right pace. He looked good” Saturday.

The Strub Stakes was Guilt Trip’s first win over 1 1/8 miles, and his first stakes win in his seventh career start. A colt by Pulpit, Guilt Trip is owned by Gary and Mary West, who also won Saturday’s Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes for 3-year-olds with the Baffert-trained Flashback.

The Big Cap field also may include Stephanoatsee, who made his California debut in the Strub. In a text message, trainer Graham Motion said he was “very happy” with Stephanoatsee’s performance Saturday.

He described the Big Cap as “very possible.”

Another expected runner is Called to Serve, a stakes winner in New York and Maryland for trainer Nick Canani.

Vince More than 1 year ago
wow he beat anothewr small field of overmatched horses
James More than 1 year ago
Got to say that number seems a little rich (116), but still respect the numbers as a tool
Richard More than 1 year ago
My mistake, it is Flashback and not Flashpoint who got in a speed duel with Shacleford in The Preakness. Flashback is owned by Gary and Mary West some very nice people here in San Diego,CA. They own Power Broker who is a very nice horse and if he does well in the preps could be a Derbt contender. I had to have Game On Dude in my trifecta for The Classic, he has been too good of a horse. It is the switching from dirt to synthetic that I have not liked. I think the horses that stay on dirt have an advantage.
Kevin More than 1 year ago
Those beyer figs will send you to the poor house
Pat More than 1 year ago
He keeps tis up the police will fine him for speeding
John More than 1 year ago
If Im going to make any money, whether it be at the track or on stocks, WHO, let me reiterate, WHO in their right mind is going to celebrate by buying a FORD FOCUS ???? Come on IDIOTS, where are you scamming from, China or India? Here is America, we have class, you would see us driving in a new Audi, or Lexus, or Lamborgini, a Ford Focus, take your scam to the toilet !
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
WHAT?...... I repeat ......WHAT?
John More than 1 year ago
Dont anybody believe this sales pitch below, I know someone who was scammed by these guys and they lost a good amount of money ! They want you to buy in and allow them to skim part of your buy in, then tell you the stock dove ! Stay away from this scam below !
Skinny Moo More than 1 year ago
Whether you like Baffert or hate him, whether you think The Dude is great, very good or mediocre in quality, the Santa Anita Handicap will be a better race with him in it, from every stand point. I hope we get a big field with a lot of accomplished horses. Safe trips for all. I want to see a battle, a proverbial throw down in the stretch. No excuses, the best horse wins.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I totally second that.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
In an effort to calm down the naysaying, there will be a raffle and Joe Torre will be giving him away to the biggest "Game On Dude" detractor. Baffert will be tossing in training fees... for free. I am disqualified from this raffle. Any takers? :-))
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Great way to make a point, ANYONE would love to own this horse.
jttf More than 1 year ago
isnt the san antonio the major prep for the santa anita handicap. this 4 horse race is not a very good sign for a quality s.a.h. field. game of dude was assigned 123 pounds last year if he entered. last year's s.a. handicap had a pace of 44.55 for the half. i dont think ron the greek will get a better setup than that, this year.