03/26/2012 11:34AM

Yakteen rejoins Baffert's team for Dubai World Cup

Shigeki Kikkawa
Game On Dude is Bob Baffert's hope in the $10 Dubai World Cup.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – In 2001, the last time trainer Bob Baffert won the Dubai World Cup, one of his top assistants was Tim Yakteen.

Though Yakteen has been training on his own for eight years now, Baffert has summoned his former assistant to assist in his quest for a third Dubai World Cup with Game On Dude this Saturday at Meydan.

Yakteen's presence took on even greater significance when Baffert suffered a heart attack Monday morning.

Yakteen traveled to the Middle East last week and on Monday oversaw Game On Dude’s final workout for the World Cup. On an overcast morning with intermittent sprinkles following heavier showers Sunday night, Game On Dude worked a half-mile in 48.58 seconds over the Tapeta surface.

With exercise rider George Alvarez in the irons, Game On Dude went his first quarter in 25.26 seconds and got his final quarter in 23.32 seconds.

“He worked absolutely fantastic,” Yakteen said. “It’s what we were looking for, all systems go. He came back excellent. He handled the track exceptionally well. He seems to like Dubai.”

Though Yakteen worked for Baffert when Silver Charm won this race in 1998, he accompanied Captain Steve here in 2001 when the World Cup was a mere $6 million.

“He wanted to join up the old team,” Yakteen said of Baffert, who is hospitalized locally after suffering a heart attack early Monday. “He wants to swing the same bat we swung in 2001 and see if we can connect with the ball.”

Game On Dude, second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, made a successful seasonal debut winning the San Antonio at Santa Anita on Feb. 5.

Yakteen also oversaw the final workout for The Factor, who went three furlongs in 36.90 seconds in preparation for the $2 million Golden Shaheen.