Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will saddle defending champion Game
On Dude in the Pacific Classic, the only one of four horses he nominated
to the event. Of the others, Bayern is headed to Saratoga for
Saturday’s Grade I $1.2 million Travers, Fed Biz will go in Sunday’s Pat
O’Brien Stakes here and Sky Kingdom will continue to train for a race
yet to be determined.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, aboard for Game On Dude’s last six
starts, opted to ride undefeated Shared Belief in the Classic. In
essence, he chose a 3-year-old gelding of great promise over a 7-year
with eight times the experience and earnings of his younger rival.
“When Shared Belief won the Los Alamitos Derby, as soon as they
crossed under the wire I thought, ‘Oops, I’m going to need a new
jockey,’ ” Baffert said Tuesday on a national teleconference call. “Mike
has been a big part of the (recent) success of Game On Dude. With
Mike, we learned some things we didn’t know about the horse before.
“I don’t blame him for going with the younger gelding.”
JOCKEY, TRAINER RACES HAVE DEADLOCKS IN COMMON
Two wins by two-time defending champion Rafael Bejarano and two by
trainer Jerry Hollendorfer on Sunday moved them into co-leader positions
atop the meet standings.
Bejarano is tied with Kent Desormeaux, who won once on Sunday, at 21
apiece. Elvis Trujillo, who was blanked Sunday, is one back and Hall of
Famer Mike Smith, despite having far fewer mounts than the top three, is
only two back in the win column.
Hollendorfer has won every training title except one since 1986 at
the two San Francisco Bay area tracks, now closed Bay Meadows and Golden
Gate Fields. While a major force for the last several years, he has not
won a title on the Southern California circuit. Could it change with
“We have lots of horses that look like they have chances,”
Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward said. “We’re competitive and we’re going
to try. I like the last (condition) book. We have horses that fit if
the races fill like we hope they will.”