If Game On Dude wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he’s odds-on to be named Horse of the Year for 2013. If he loses and reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan wins the Breeders’ Cup Mile, it could be a toss-up. If Game On Dude turns in a clinker and Wise Dan wins with authority, it could turn the tables in favor of the incumbent.
There might have been much more to ponder had Wise Dan won and not finished second in the Shadwell Mile, which was moved from his favorite surface, turf, to synthetic (Polytrack) due to heavy rains at Keeneland on Oct. 5. All should be decided after the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
“I don’t think the fact that Wise Dan is the incumbent will influence the voters, should both he and Game On Dude win their respective races,” said private clocker Gary Young. “What will hold more water with voters is that Game On Dude will have his seventh straight win (if he captures the Classic) and Wise Dan’s win streak ended (at nine with his Shadwell defeat).
“Depending on what horses come from Europe, Game On Dude probably will be running against what will be perceived as a tougher field than what Wise Dan will face in the Mile.
“If Wise Dan wins and Game On Dude loses, that would make the vote kind of 50-50. If Wise Dan wins and Game On Dude runs second, Game On Dude would still have a chance to win Horse of the Year.
“If Wise Dan wins and Game On Dude lays an egg like he did last year (seventh in the Classic) . . . I mean, you’re not supposed to lay eggs on Breeders’ Cup day and win Eclipse Awards.”