02/06/2013 4:56PM

Santa Anita: Weights key for Clubhouse Ride in Santa Anita Handicap

Shigeki Kikkawa
Clubhouse Ride is being considered for a start in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2.

The $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2 may include Clubhouse Ride, if trainer Craig Lewis gets a break in the weights against expected favorite Game On Dude.

The Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap is run over 1 1/4 miles and is the top race of the winter-spring meeting for older horses.

In the $200,000 San Antonio Stakes over 1  1/8 miles last Sunday, Game On Dude won by 6 1/2 lengths over Clubhouse Ride. A 5-year-old horse, Clubhouse Ride has won 3 of 25 starts.

“He ran well, but going against Game On Dude is like chasing a bear with a switchblade knife,” Lewis said.

Under the allowance conditions of the San Antonio, Game On Dude carried 123 pounds, five more than Clubhouse Ride. Lewis will be seeking a wider spread for the Santa Anita Handicap.

“I’ll have to see a lot of separation,” Lewis said. “That will be a deciding factor.”

Lewis said that a backup plan for Clubhouse Ride is the $200,000 San Carlos Stakes over seven furlongs on Feb. 23.

Game On Dude won his ninth stakes in the San Antonio. A 6-year-old gelding, Game On Dude won the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap but did not start in the 2012 race.

The Big Cap field will include Called to Serve, a New York shipper who won stakes at Aqueduct and Laurel in the final two months of 2013.

Trained by Nick Canani, Called to Serve, 4, arrived in Southern California Tuesday to begin preparation.