Game On Dude wins San Antonio for Baffert, Torre
ARCADIA, Calif. -- Game On Dude overpowered three rivals to defend his title in the $200,000 San Antonio Stakes by 6½ lengths at Santa Anita on Sunday.
Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Game On Dude ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.53 and paid $2.10 and $2.10 at 1-9 odds.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Game On Dude is co-owned by retired Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who was on hand.
"He just seems to be such a great competitor," Torre said. "I'm not an authority on horses. I sit next to Baffert whenever I can, and when he told me at the top of the stretch that he's got plenty left, I sort of relaxed a little bit."
Game On Dude broke sharply and was immediately engaged by 12-1 longshot Basmati.
"I got pressured, even more so than if it was a full field believe it or not," Smith said. "In these short fields, people make you do things because it's more of a match race. He has a high, high cruising speed and you just let him get into his rhythm whether that's up front or off the lead.
"I let him do his thing and he ran brilliant. He stood up over on the turn, took one breath and turned around like it was nothing. They were running quick, but that's just him."
Baffert said Game On Dude would be pointed to the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2, which he won in 2011.
Clubhouse Ride returned $2.80. Make Music for Me was another 13 3/4 lengths back in third. There was no show wagering because of the four-horse field. With $287,272 bet to place on Game On Dude, there was a minus place pool of $53,241.
The victory, worth $120,000, increased Game On Dude's career earnings to $3,252,158, with 11 wins in 23 starts.
The 6-year-old gelding has four Grade 1 wins to his credit.
"This is an extremely talented horse," Smith said. "He might even be better this year."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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