Trainer Bob Baffert sent Game On Dude out for a gate tune-up May 31 for the upcoming Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Santa Anita clockers crediting the Awesome Again gelding with a six-furlong move in 1:12 2/5 handily.
The move by the Lone Star Derby (gr. III) winner was the best of 13 works recorded for the distance at Santa Anita. Baffert said he had Game On Dude going five furlongs in :59 4/5.
“When we first purchased him, he had gate problems,” said Baffert, who is scheduled to arrive in New York June 2 with Game On Dude. “I can’t stand it when they don’t break running. Today he was good in the gate, tracked the other horse, and wasn’t too tired when he got back. He’s coming into the race very well. I liked what I saw today; if I didn’t I wouldn’t bring him.”
Baffert won the Belmont in 2001 with Point Given . But on three other occasions, he watched as his Triple Crown hopes were dashed for Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem.
“I was watching TVG the other day and they had a show on the Triple Crown,” said Baffert. “I sat there and tortured myself. My wife actually asked me, ‘Why are you sitting there are torturing yourself?’ I still can’t believe Real Quiet got beat.”
Game On Dude made his third start for Baffert in the May 8 Lone Star Derby following his purchase in March by the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, Diamond Pride and Bernie Schiappa. The gelding, out of Worldly Pleasure, by Devil His Due, ran fifth in the The Cliff's Edge Derby Trial (gr. III) at Churchill Downs April 24, losing by nearly 20 lengths. Prior to that, he ran seventh in the Florida Derby (gr. I).
He previously raced for trainer Michael Mareina, breaking his maiden by three lengths in his second start Feb. 27 at Gulfstream Park.
Game On Dude has won two of five starts and earned $157,258.