The now 7 year old Kentucky bred Game On Dude is usually the heavy betting favorite along with being a big fan favorite at Santa Anita. But in this year’s Big Cap he was the almost forgotten 3rd choice at 7/2 and the old guy reminded them all that he’s still ‘THE Dude’ to reckon with. Jockey Mike Smith broke him right out of the gate on top and then set the very fast pace all the way and cruised to an almost 2 length win over 2nd choice Will Take Charge. Blingo with San Gabriel Valley native Aaron Gryder up finished 3rd another 8 lengths back and ahead of the disappointing 6/5 favorite Mucho Macho Man who had nothing in tank when his hall of fame jock Gary Stevens tried to step on the gas down the lane.
After a missing out on Breeder’s Cup Classic wins in his 3 tries—‘The Dude’ notched his record 3rd Santa Anita Handicap (in it’s 77 year history) and it was the 5th for his Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert who I surprised with the question of how many Big Caps he had won when he entered the post race interview room? After track P.R. Dude Mike Willman made the announcement that it was his 5th, Baffert looked back at me and held up his hand with all 5 digits in the air and winked at me—yep Bob, that’s number 5 and it’s nice to have so many that you don’t even remember them.
After they spoke with the regular media—I got the chance to chat it up with Baffert and one of his champ’s owners and close buddy Bernie Schiappa who mentioned that another co-owner ex-Dodger manager Joe Torre couldn’t be on hand because he had a real job working in the front office of Major League Baseball and currently in Florida.
Bob Baffert and Bernie Schiappa with Ted Sobel:
Game on Dude’s Big Cap win was worth $450,000 which pushed his career earnings to $6,163,893, with 16 wins in 31 starts. Not a bad payday for the ‘ol guy and his classy connections. Enjoy it Dudes!