It seems that many people are simply handing Game on Dude
the 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic. They act like there is no way he gets beat and that
he will simply dominate and go on to end his year a perfect six for six and
collect Champion Older Male and Horse of the Year awards. I am not one of those
In this year’s Classic he will have at least three other
horses that will be gunning for the lead with him. Moreno
, and Fort
are all very quick, and all have proven to be quite capable of setting
fast fractions that run their competition off their feet. The last time Dude
faced a field with this much speed he lost. It was a game second in the 2011
Breeders Cup Classic, where he fended off Uncle Mo and To Honor and Serve,
early on, but could not withstand Drosselmeyer’s late kick. This time, instead
of two main challengers he will have 3, one with the exact same running style.
Game on Dude likes to be close to the lead early, and if he’s to win, he wants
the lead before entering the stretch. If he can’t get it before then, he fades.
The amount of early speed in the 2013 Classic, does not bode well for him.
Another dynamic people are forgetting is the amount of
stalkers and closers. Palace Malice, Will Take Charge, Graydar, Ron the Greek,
and Mucho Macho Man are the horses you can expect to challenge Game on Dude
late, should he be able to withstand and repel the other speed horses. Palace
, and Mucho Macho Man
are three that will be the first to be on
the attack. When the speed falls they will pounce around the far turn. Graydar
has shown his grit, in running down the leader, when he won the New Orleans
Handicap. Palace Malice showed his ability to deliver a knockout punch in the
Belmont and Jim Dandy, blowing by his completion around the final turn. Mucho
Macho Man did something similar in the Awesome Again, just last time out.
If those three do not find a way to get past him, the Game
on Dude has Ron the Greek
and Will Take Charge
to fend off. Both of those
horses will have the benefit of running into a furious early pace, and the opportunity
of running down a leg weary, softened up leader. Last time this scenario played
out, Game On Dude could not match stride with the closer.
That is seven grade one winners total, all of which have
demonstrated the ability to win at distances 10 furlongs or greater, taking
their shots in separate waves. At 10 furlongs, I have every reason to doubt
that Game on Dude is a very beatable favorite. The best bet is to take a
stalker. Yes, they too, will be close to a rapid pace, however, Santa Anita is
a very speed conducive track. That gives them the advantage once they get the
jump on their late closing rivals.
Of the stalkers you’ll have Mucho Macho Man, Palace Malice,
and possibly Graydar. The latter is a brilliant individual with the heart of a
champion. The question is, does he have enough foundation to get 10 furlongs
against this group? Mucho Macho Man will have the services of Gary Stevens, who
happened to be aboard for his first grade one win, which he won by a dominating
four and a half lengths. He was second last year, and stands a good shot at
getting up again this year. Palace Malice, your Belmont winner has the same style
as the Macho Man. He may not be the luckiest horse in the field, but he has
talent to spare, and gets Hall of Famer Johnny Velazquez.
The way I see it, the speed will cancel each
other out, setting the stage for the stalkers. Graydar will give it his all,
but won’t have the foundation to keep with Mucho Macho Man or Palace Malice as
they swoop to the lead, and battle it out down the Santa Anita stretch.