Assistant trainer Mike Marlow said Sunday that Game On Dude returned in "good
shape" following his game victory in Saturday's Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes.
"I thought he was impressive," said Marlow, who is a longtime assistant to Bob Baffert. "He was tested all the way. Mike Smith's move on the first turn was a key factor in the race."
Marlow indicated that Game On Dude was still at Hollywood Park and would likely ship to Santa Anita Monday.
Following the race, Baffert indicated his next major objective with Game On Dude would be the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2. The Awesome Again gelding won the 2011 Big 'Cap, but skipped a title defense this year in favor of the Group 1 Dubai World Cup, where he wound up 12th.
Nonios, a gallant second to Game On Dude, also came out of the Native Diver well, according to Dan Ward, Jerry Hollendorfer's assistant trainer."He's not as tired as you would expect,'' Ward said. "He runs hard, that horse. He's pretty good this morning -- nice and fresh."
Ward wondered if the positioning on the clubhouse turn might have made a difference.
"We had that horse (Game On Dude) in the position we wanted to going into the first turn, and we let him through,'' he said. "If you're going to send out of there, cross over and make that guy take a hold. I sure would have liked him (Pedroza) to be more aggressive. I don't know, maybe he didn't have enough speed to cross over. Those guys know what they're doing."
Meanwhile, trainer Peter Miller relayed that Reneesgotzip, the relentless winner of the Skillful Joy Stakes, came out of the victory fine.
"That was one of her toughest wins," Miller said. "She struggled all the way, but won on class alone. She didn't care for the track, but though it was slow, it was a safe track. That's the main thing, the safety.
"I'm going to talk to the owner, but if everything looks good, she'll probably run next in the La Brea Stakes (Grade 1 on December 26 at Santa Anita).''
Nechez Dawn, who was caught by Reneesgotzip in deep stretch, "came back well," according to trainer Jeff Bonde. "She's a real trier."