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Next stop Big 'Cap for Game On Dude

Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Sunday's dominating victory by Game On Dude in the San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita reestablished the gelding as the leading handicap horse on the West Coast. The 6-year-old's 6 1/2-length win places him squarely as the favorite for the Santa Anita Handicap (Big 'Cap) on March 2.

"This is an extremely talented horse, he might even be better this year. I've never ridden him last year but I ran against him a few times. The feeling he gave me today was even more so than when I first rode him," said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith after the San Antonio.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude will be returning to the Big 'Cap after a year's absence. He won the race in 2011, but last year was sent to the Dubai World Cup where he finished a disappointing 12th. The gelding won last year's San Antonio prior to Dubai.

Co-owned by Joe Torre, Game On Dude has won 11 of 23 career starts for more than $3.25 million. The San Antonio is the horse's second win following last year's Breeders' Cup Classic in which he finished seventh as the 13-10 favorite.

Game On Dude closed his 2012 season with a victory in the Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park. Prior to the Breeders' Cup he won the Awesome Again Stakes after a second in the Pacific Classic and wins in both the Hollywood Gold Cup and Californian.

"He just seems to be such a great competitor," Torre said. "Again, I'm not an 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."

The gelding's career mark at Santa Anita is an impressive six wins in seven starts for $1 million.

02/04 10:03:50 ET


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