Photo: Benoit Photo
Three times Clubhouse Ride has tried Game On Dude, and three times the five-year-old son of Candy Ride was turned away. While losing to the same horse on three consecutive occasions may have discouraged some, the Six-S Racing Stable, who owns Clubhouse Ride in partnership with Nikolas Petralia, is doing nothing but enjoying the ride, and with good reason. In his last four starts Clubhouse Ride has finished second in the Grade 2 San Antonio, Grade 1 Big Cap, and the rich Charles Town Classic (all to Game On Dude), before easily accounting for the Grade 2 Californian at Betfair Hollywood Park. Clearly in career best form, the Craig Lewis trained horse will now take another shot at Game On Dude in the historic, 1 1/4 mile Hollywood Gold Cup on Saturday.
Considering the real scare he gave Game On Dude in their last meeting, and with his fourth try against the excellent gelding coming at the same track where he just earned the biggest victory of his career, there is reason to believe that David might finally have a chance to defeat Goliath. A few days before they go after the grand finale of Hollywood Park’s signature race, I had the chance to speak with Six-S Racing Stable’s Rick Seidner about their stable star, his current form, and of course, his powerful rival.
Zipse: Clubhouse Ride showed ability early on, but now at five, he has really taken things up a notch. What do you attribute to him putting it all together?
Seidner: As a two year old he ran third in the Delta Jackpot, third in the Cashcall, and then later, second to Tapizar in the Sham. We thought he was extra special then as he was on the trail to the Kentucky Derby. If it wasn't for a minor injury, after analyzing the chart of the Derby in 2010, I believe he would of run third or fourth. He does appear to be getting better, because of his ability, adding blinkers, and the job that Craig Lewis and Apple have done.
Zipse: Is this the best horse you've ever been involved with?
Seidner: Ride is by far the best horse Six S has ever owned. We don't buy very many horses each year and when you get a Clubhouse Ride it's very exciting.
Zipse: Game On Dude has beaten your horse in three straight, did you consider looking for races that he wasn't going to be part of the field?
Seidner: Craig and I have never considered avoiding Dude. Our goal was to hope to have a good showing in the San Antonio, so he would earn the chance to run in the Santa Anita Handicap. The goal in the Big Cap was to run third, and he exceeded our expectations and ran second. Same goes for the Charles Town Classic, we were hoping to run second or third and he did run second. I guess the short answer is, in these big races second pays great.
Zipse: Did the competitiveness of the Charles Town Classic result give you more hope to turn the tables?
Seidner: When they turned for home in Charles Town I thought we were going to get all the money. Dude just dug in and wouldn't let us by. He's no doubt a monster.
Zipse: Would another second place finish to the favorite on Saturday be a satisfying result?
Seidner: First, second, or third will put Ride over 1 million stones. Not bad for a $22k purchase. If he runs second there will be one heck of a celebration dinner.
Zipse: Game On Dude is currently the undisputed King of California, how much do you want to knock him off that perch?
Seidner: Not only do we have to beat the King, we also have to beat Baffert's two other bears. Liaison and Sky Kingdom. Now that's at least two kings. I am cutting my vacation short so I can be at the race. If we can beat Joe Torre, it would be like winning the world series. A victory will make one heck of a birthday celebration. (July 5th).
Zipse: What would a victory by Clubhouse Ride in the Hollywood Gold Cup mean to Six-S Racing Stable?
Seidner: After 30 years in the racehorse business, our first Grade 1 victory Saturday would be a slice of heaven. I would like to thank Craig, Apple and the entire barn for making this another great experience. They are the true kings.