Game on Dude headed a parade of heavyweight hopefuls Sunday morning prepping for the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita as the countdown began in earnest for the 28th World Championship events at The Great Race Place on November 2-3.
The early favorite for the $5 million Classic at 1 1/4 miles on November 3, Game on Dude worked five furlongs in company under regular rider Rafael Bejarano in :59 3/5, breezing. Stablemate Blueskiesnrainbows was timed in 1:00 2/5.
"He said he felt like an airplane," Bob Baffert said of Bejarano's post-work assessment. "This track right now is the best it's been since we've been here. I think the rain (three-quarters of an inch on Thursday) really helped. The track has bounce to it. I should have worked more horses today."
As it was Baffert also worked Grade 1 FrontRunner (formerly Norfolk) winner Power Broker in company with Bank the Eight, and Fast Bullet six furlongs from the gate in company with Grade 1 victor Smiling Tiger, trained by Jeff Bonde.
Power Broker, with Bejarano aboard, was clocked in :59 1/5, while Bank the Eight got :59 2/5. Fast Bullet was clocked in a bullet 1:11 2/5; Smiling Tiger was timed in 1:12.
"Power Broker went really nice," Baffert said of the Pulpit colt who's headed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. "I might run Fast Bullet in the (Breeders' Cup) Sprint."
The son of 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Speightstown is unbeaten in two starts but has not raced since November 2011.
"He runs well off a layoff and he's a fast horse," Baffert said.
Unbeaten champion My Miss Aurelia, winner of the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion at Parx, worked five furlongs for the Ladies' Classic in :59 2/5.
"She went beautiful," said Steve Asmussen, who was on hand for the drill. "They caught her a little quicker than I did but I thought she went over the track great."
Ladies' Classic contender Love and Pride also worked, going four furlongs in :49 4/5 for Todd Pletcher, while Turf candidate Turbo Compressor went the same distance in the same time, also for Pletcher.
Filly & Mare Sprint candidate Switch went four furlongs in a bullet :45 4/5 for John Sadler, fastest of 73 drills at the distance, the average time of which was :48 4/5. Filly & Mare Turf hopeful Lady of Shamrock also worked for Sadler, going six furlongs on the grass in 1:15 4/5.
Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship (formerly Clement Hirsch) scorer Slim Shadey had his first breeze since his front-running victory in that September 30 race, going a half-mile for the Breeders' Cup Turf in :49 4/5 on the main track.
"It was perfect," trainer Simon Callaghan said. "It was his first bit of work back since his race. We just wanted to go steady and it was perfect. He did it really well within himself and he galloped out nice. It was exactly what we needed. He'll do a more serious bit of work next week."
In all there were 227 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Sunday, including 15 on turf and two on the training track.