Game On Dude reigns supreme in Santa Anita Handicap
Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Game On Dude, 2011 winner, completely dominated the competition, including defending champ Ron the Greek, to capture Saturday's 76th running of the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap (Big 'Cap) at Santa Anita Park.
Game On Dude, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, was sent off as the 13-10 favorite in the nine-horse field with Ron the Greek at 5-2 and Called to Serve the 4-1 third choice. It was the first time two previous winners of the 1 1/4-mile stakes met in the race.
Trained by Hall of Fame member Bob Baffert, Game On Dude didn't waste any time coming out of the gate. He quickly went to the lead and took the field into the first turn.
The 6-year-old gelding was never challenged in the Big 'Cap and Smith never used is whip as the favorite cruised to victory by 7 3/4-lengths over 27-1 longshot Clubhouse Ride.
Called to Serve finished third followed by Ron the Greek, Guilt Trip, Richard's Kid, Handsome Mike, Deacon Speakin' and Stephanoatsee. John Scott was an early scratch.
Game On Dude recorded his seventh win in eight career starts at Santa Anita and covered the Big 'Cap distance in 2:00.14 on a fast track.
Co-owned by Joe Torre, Game On Dude earned $450,000 with the win to push his bankroll to $3,702,158 with 12 victories in 24 lifetime starts.
The gelding began 2013 with his second straight San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita. Last year he skipped the Big 'Cap when he tried the Dubai World Cup. Unfortunately, he finished 12th in the $10 million race.
Returning home, he won the Californian and Hollywood Gold Cup, and was second to Dullahan in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. After winning the Awesome Again Stakes, Game On Dude was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita. He wrapped up 2012 by winning the Native Diver Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Game On Dude returned $4.60, $3.40 and $2.10. Clubhouse Ride paid $13.40 and $6.80, and Called to Serve paid $3.40 to show.
03/02 20:51:56 ET