BREEDERS’ Cup Classic runner-up Game On Dude (Bob Baffert/Chantal Sutherland) look sure to be a leading figure this term after an impressive 5¼-length victory on his return to action at Santa Anita on Sunday.
The five-year-old was taking his record to four out of four on the Santa Anita dirt strip.
The burning question now is whether he will attempt to make it five by defending his Big Cap crown in the Santa Anita Handicap on March before being targeted for the Classic at the same venue in November, or be sent to Dubai for a crack at the World Cup on the Meydan all-weather surface.
Baffert commented: “He’s nominated to Dubai, but the thing about Dubai is that it’s getting more and more difficult for American horses to win there because of the new track layout and the synthetic. You don’t know what to expect. We can think about it. It’s an option, so we’re gong to leave all optionsopen for now.”
In Sunday’s race, Game On Dude missed the kick before chasing early leader Skipshot, whom he overcame in the backstretch before running right away from his rivals. He stopped the clock in a very speedy 1m46.88s.
“He’s such a good horse,” said regular partner Chantal Sutherland. “He was strong today and we had a lot left. He wasn’t even sweating when he came back. It was like a workout for him. I had to look at the TV to see if anybody was around because I couldn’t hear anybody. When I looked at the TV and saw it was clear sailing, I was so happy.”