Game on Dude stars as Baffert runs one-two in Gold Cup again

After missing by a nose to stablemate First Dude last year, Game on Dude came through with a comfortable 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup. This time he keyed the Bob Baffert exacta as Richard's Kid finished second for the Hall of Fame conditioner.

Owned by the partnership of Diamond Pride, Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable and Bernie Schiappa, Game on Dude broke well under regular rider Chantal Sutherland and raced to the outside of Spud Spivens through opening fractions in :24 and :47 3/5. The five-year-old gelding began to edge away from that rival, passing the six-furlong point in 1:11 4/5 with a half-length advantage, and increased his lead on the far turn.

Multiple Grade 1 winner Richard's Kid tried to make a race of it, rallying from far back into second with a bold move, but he could not sustain his momentum in the stretch. Game on Dude responded when asked for run leaving the far turn and easily proved best, completing 1 1/4 miles in 2:04 on the Cushion Track.

Favored at 2-5, Game on Dude returned paltry payoffs of $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10. Richard's Kid, the near 3-1 second choice, easily held second by 6 1/2 lengths, with the 7-1 Kettle Corn completing the formful trifecta. Spud Spivens came next in fourth and was followed by Love theway Youare, Anthony's Cross and Thirtyfirststreet.

Game on Dude continues to assert his superiority out west, winning his last four graded stakes in California, and he's now earned $2,644,658 from a 18-8-4-1 record. This year's Breeders' Cup Classic is in his backyard at Santa Anita.

Since winning the Grade 1 Goodwood at Santa Anita last October, Game on Dude's only setbacks are a runner-up finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs and a subpar 12th in the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup overseas. He rolled by 5 1/4 lengths when opening 2012 in the Grade 2 San Antonio at Santa Anita and cruised by 7 1/4 lengths in the Grade 2 Californian at Hollywood prior to the Gold Cup.

Game on Dude recorded his first stakes win in the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in 2010, but people began to take notice of the dark bay when he captured the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in the spring of 2011. He also placed in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap and Grade 3 Charles Town Classic last season.

Bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs and sired by Awesome Again, Game on Dude was produced by the stakes-winning Worldly Pleasure, a daughter of Devil His Due.

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