When the Eclipse Award winners are announced on Jan. 16, Bob Baffert
is hopeful that Game on Dude will be recognized as top male handicap
horse of 2011. The Hall of Fame trainer feels the Santa Anita Handicap
winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up accomplished enough last year
to merit the honor, but he’s not dusting off a place on his mantle
“He has a legitimate chance, but I think there’s an Eastern
bias,” Baffert said. “I think Tizway’s going to get a lot of votes
because he won (the Whitney) at Saratoga. But Game on Dude, he did
travel outside of California and that helps his cause. He actually beat
Tizway and Acclamation when he went to Charles Town and ran in the
Charles Town Classic.
“Game on Dude, you have to give him credit. He won all year long.
He won his opening race here, he won the Big ‘Cap, then went to Texas
but didn’t run real well there.
“He wants to be on the lead. That’s his biggest weapon. He just
missed (winning) the (Hollywood) Gold Cup by a quarter of an inch to
First Dude, who is a good horse. He beat Twirling Candy there on the
“He hated Del Mar. He didn’t run as good as he could there. He
came back and won the Goodwood and ran a tremendous race in the
Breeders’ Cup (Classic), took all the heat, so off that, if you grade
him for all year-round performances, he probably had the best year, and
that would give him a legitimate chance, but you never know what they’re
going to do.”