Game On Dude, likely favorite for the TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I), put in a sharp drill of five furlongs in :59 3/5 Aug. 19 at Del Mar in his final major move leading up to the $1 million, 1 1/4-mile race Aug. 25.
The time for the work was co-third fastest of the day among 54 working the distance.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Bafffert for Diamond Pride, Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, and Bernie Schiappa, the 6-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again was on the track at 8:05 a.m. PDT following the mid-morning renovation break. After jockey Martin Garcia backtracked him to the sixteenth pole, Game On Dude jogged into his work in company with stablemate Bank the Eight.
With Bank the Eight starting about seven or eight lengths in from of Game On Dude, the gelding tracked his 6-year-old stablemate starting at the five-eighths, cut the margin to two lengths turning for home, and drew even with him for the run through the stretch. Game On Dude, who has won two grade I stakes and two grade II events in his four 2013 starts, had his head in front at the wire and galloped out strongly for two furlongs.
Game On Dude was timed in fractional splits of :23 3/5, :35 3/5, and :47 1/5. His gallop-out times were 1:11 3/5 for six furlongs and 1:24 1/5 for seven-eighths of a mile.
Clockers had Game On Dude making up seven lengths on his stablemate, who was timed in 1:01 for five furlongs, over the course of the work.
"Good work and he needed it," said Baffert, who will also be represented in the Pacific Classic by Liaison , who will have Garcia aboard. "He has been getting a little fresh on me lately and he needed this."
Joel Rosario, the leading North American rider of 2013, is scheduled to be aboard Game On Dude for the first time in the Pacific Classic. Game On Dude, who has amassed earnings of more than $5 million, was fourth in the 2011 edition of the race, then second in last year's running.
Del Mar said as many as 12 runners could compete in the race that is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" challenge race, automatically assuring the winner a starting berth in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic. Entries for the Pacific Classic will be drawn Aug. 21.
Another possible Pacific Classic horse that worked Aug. 19 was You Know I Know, trained by Del Mar's current leading trainer John Sadler. You Know I Know, who will be making his stakes debut in the Pacific Classic, worked five furlongs in :59 3/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:11 1/5 under jockey Julien Leparoux.
"I'm very pleased with his work and he certainly seems to have a proclivity for this track," Sadler said. "I'm going to see how he comes out of this work (Aug. 20) and if all's well, we're going to take a shot at the big one."
Edwin Maldonado would have the mount Sunday if the 4-year-old gelding is entered.
With an approximate post time of 5:45 local time, the Pacific Classic will be the ninth race on an 11-race card at Del Mar that begins with the first race 1 p.m.