Updated on 10/01/2011 6:30AM

Santa Anita: Game On Dude will go right to the front in Goodwood Stakes

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Game On Dude will be looking to bounce back in Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – After an odyssey that sent him to West Virginia and Texas, in addition to Hollywood Park and Del Mar, Game On Dude returns to the scene of the crime, er, his greatest win, when he heads the field Saturday in the Grade 1, $250,000 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita.

It was here on March 5 that Game On Dude survived a rough stretch run and lengthy stewards’ inquiry to win the Santa Anita Handicap. And though he has run well in four subsequent starts, Game On Dude has not won since the Big Cap, which marked his second straight victory at Santa Anita.

Game On Dude’s task was made easier when Acclamation, who drew the rail in the Goodwood and also has early speed, opted out of the Goodwood to instead run in the Clement Hirsch Stakes on turf Sunday.

Everybody who’s a racing fan in Southern California has gotta go to Santa Anita on Saturday. The 11-race card, which begins at 1 p.m. Pacific, is terrific, with four stakes, all Grade 1 events that are Win and You’re In races for the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs five weeks hence. There also will be a food-truck festival in the infield.

The 1 1/8-mile Goodwood – a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic – is the seventh race on the card. It follows the Norfolk for 2-year-olds, featuring Del Mar Futurity winner Drill, and the Lady’s Secret for older females, featuring champion filly Blind Luck, and precedes a wide-open Yellow Ribbon for female turf runners. The Yellow Ribbon is part of a late pick four that has a guaranteed pool of $400,000.

BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners »

The Norfolk, Lady’s Secret, and Goodwood will be seen live on ESPN Classic in the latter portion of a three-hour telecast, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, that begins with three Breeders’ Cup preps at Belmont Park, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Game On Dude comes off a fourth-place finish in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, which followed a narrow loss in the Hollywood Gold Cup.

“We didn’t want him to get into a speed duel last time, but I think you’ve just got to let him roll,” Baffert said. “He’s just one high-cruising dude.”

Baffert has strength in numbers. In addition to Game On Dude, he also will run Coil, who won the Haskell this summer for his fourth win in his last five starts before a horrible performance in the Travers Stakes.

Coil scratched an eye before the Travers, and Baffert blames himself for that debacle.

“I should have sat the race out and gone to the Pennsylvania Derby,” Baffert said. “I think when the dirt hit him, it was stinging him. After the race, after we got him back here, we got it all cleared up. He’s good now. He’s trained really well.”

Also entered in the Goodwood is the ageless Awesome Gem, 8, who won the Longacres Mile last time out for his ninth win in 46 starts. He beat Game On Dude in the Lone Star Park Handicap in May.

Tres Borrachos disappointed in the Pacific Classic, but won the San Diego Handicap in his prior start. Preamble won four straight before a puzzling, flat effort in the Windy Sands at Del Mar.

The mare Miss Match is trying males again after finishing seventh of eight in the Hollywood Gold Cup. She won the Santa Margarita at this track in March.

Golden Itiz was seventh in the San Diego in his last start. Nijinsky’s Song owns only a maiden win in three starts.


Goodwood Stakes Field

PP HORSE JOCKEY TRAINER

1

Acclamation P. Valenzuela 
124 Lbs
D. Warren

1

Coil M. Garcia 
121 Lbs
B. Baffert

1

Tres Borrachos J. Rosario 
119 Lbs
M. Jones

1

Preamble V. Espinoza 
119 Lbs
R. Mandella

1

Golden Itiz J. Talamo 
119 Lbs
R. Ellis

1

Miss Match (ARG) G. Gomez 
121 Lbs
N. Drysdale

1

Awesome Gem D. Flores 
119 Lbs
C. Dollase

1

Game On Dude C. Sutherland 
121 Lbs
B. Baffert

1

Nijinsky's Song H. Berrios 
116 Lbs
M. Harrington