Game On Dude dominates in San Antonio Stakes
Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Game On Dude, ridden by Mike Smith, cruised to victory in Sunday's $200,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita Park to begin his 2013 campaign. The 6-year-old gelding will make his next start in the Santa Anita Handicap.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude broke well from the starting gate and was joined on the lead by 12-1 third pick Basmati in the four horse field. Running well off the pace were Clubhouse Ride and Make Music for Me. Chosen Miracle was an early scratch.
Game On Dude, who won last year's San Antonio, was on the inside up the backstretch with Basmati right along side. The two horses battled into the far turn as Clubhouse Ride began to advance.
Game On Dude, owned in part by Joe Torre, began to edge away from Basmati with Clubhouse Ride moving into second on the final turn. The 1-20 favorite had a clear lead at the top of the stretch and added to it approaching the wire.
With Smith in the saddle for his second straight start, Game On Dude posted a 6 1/2-length victory over Clubhouse Ride with Make Music for Me getting third and Basmati rounding out the finish.
"You know I got pressured, even more so than if it was a full field, believe it or not," said the winning Hall of Fame jockey. "In these short fields people make you do things because it's more of a match race. He has a high, high cruising speed and you just let him get into his rhythm whether that's up front or off the lead. I let him do his thing today and he ran brilliant to be honest. He stood up over on the turn, took one breath and turned around like it was nothing. They were running quick, but that's just him."
The odds-on favorite covered the 1 1/8-miles in 1:47.53 on a fast track.
Game On Dude notched his sixth win in seven starts at Santa Anita and added $120,000 in earnings. The gelding has banked $3.25 million with 11 wins in 23 career starts with just over $1 million earned at the historic track.
After finishing seventh as the 13-10 favorite in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, he closed his 2012 season with a victory in the Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park. Game on Dude has won seven of his last 11 races.
"I've seen him (run) a number of times, but this is the first time I was able to see him since the Breeders' (Cup last Nov. 3)," Torre noted. "Obviously, we were disappointed that day, but he just keeps on going.
"He just seems to be such a great competitor. Again, I'm not authority on horses. I sit next to Baffert whenever I can, and when he told me at the top of the stretch that he's got plenty left, I sort of relaxed a little bit."
Game On Dude returned $2.10 and $2.10, and Clubhouse Ride paid $2.80. There was no show wagering.
02/03 18:05:33 ET