Generally speaking, “pace makes the race” is a dependable axiom in horse racing. It works in reverse, as well, as exemplified in the San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 8, when Game On Dude and Blueskiesnrainbows hooked up in an exhausting and encumbering speed duel, eventually winding up fifth and sixth as the favorite and second choice.
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Game On Dude, who has a penchant for speed, is out to make amends on March 8 when he runs in the Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Miguel Indian Bingo & Casino.
At least that’s the hope of Mike Smith, regular rider of the 7-year-old multimillionaire gelding, although all the specifics for the Grade I, $750,000 Big ‘Cap are still to unfold.
“A lot of times, I guess it’s true, but sometimes it’s not,” said Smith when asked about the “pace makes the race” principle. “In this case (the San Antonio), he went a little quick early and it was his first race back (since finishing second by a head to Will Take Charge in the Clark Handicap on Nov. 29), so he’s certainly got room to improve.
“If it will be enough, we’ll see. I don’t know until he runs. I know that when he runs his ‘A-plus’ race, I’ll match him with anybody. As for the Big ‘Cap, we’ll just have to wait and see who goes in, where we draw, how we break, and then I’ll be able to tell you something.
“On the whole, he’s usually pretty good out of the gate. In the San Antonio, he was just a step slow leaving there, but I look for him to come back and bounce out of there good and see where it puts him.”