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Game On Dude Ready for Big Gold Cup Effort

Bob Baffert trains Game On Dude, Martin Garcia works him, and Mike Smith rides him. It’s a winning combination, one Smith would like to continue Saturday when he rides the 7-year-old gelding in the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter.

Smith has had but a nodding relationship with Game On Dude the past two months.

“I haven’t been on him since I rode him in the Charles Town Classic (April 19), but he looks good from what I’ve seen,” the Hall of Fame jockey said of Game On Dude, winner of 16 of 32 career starts and earner of more than $6.4 million. Smith has ridden Game On Dude in his last five races and 10 times overall, winning six.

“I’ve been up close to him,” Smith said. “He’s holding his flesh well and he looks great.  He doesn’t seem to be losing a step. He ran really well in his second-place finish at Charles Town (to Imperative), even though it certainly wasn’t his ‘A’ race.

“He’s durable, well-balanced, sound. So far, good Lord willing, he’ll stay that way. He’s doing well. He’s ready to run big again. If there’s pace in there (with Fury Kapcori), that’s fine. It doesn’t matter as long as Game On Dude is happy. Whenever he’s happy, he runs.”

The field for the Gold Cup, race eight of 10: Game On Dude, Mike Smith, 4-5; Fury Kapcori, Gary Stevens, 9-2; Clubhouse Ride, Joe Talamo, 9-2; Imperative, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Salto Del Indio, Brice Blanc, 8-1; Majestic Harbor, Tyler Baze, 12-1; and Lideris, Juan Enriquez, 20-1.


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