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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Game On Dude is a Fitting Final Gold Cup Champion

Game On Dude Gold Cup 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Alex Evers


Not even 127 pounds could slow down The Dude from his appointed rounds. Further cementing his standing as one of the great geldings of modern American racing, Game On Dude dominated the 74th and final running of the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup (at least at Hollywood Park), from start to finish.

With the Track of Lakes and Flowers set to be bulldozed into oblivion in order for more condominiums and strip malls, the future of the Hollywood Gold Cup is at best, in limbo. The chance of having the historic race picked up by one of the other Southern California tracks is certainly possible, but even then, the big race will never be quite the same. So, it is only fitting that in the final edition of the Hollywood Gold Cup ever to be held at Hollywood Park, a most representative winner proved more than able to send the fans home happy.

Bet down to prohibitive favoritism at odds of 3-10, despite his imposing weight assignment, Game On Dude and rider, Mike Smith sprung out of the gates in the 1 ¼ mile race and never looked back. Setting easy fractions of :25, :49.31, and 1:12.60. It appeared to all the world, that horse and rider were out for a Sunday drive one day early. As the field hit the far turn, it was clear that Game On Dude had the better of his closest pursuers.

With the expected threat not coming, it was long shot Kettle Corn who made a menacing move along the inside of the far turn. Menacing that is to everyone but those who know The Dude the best. Showing his class and superiority, the excellent gelding had more than enough in reserve to keep the challenger, who was carrying 11 pounds less, comfortably at bay. Hand ridden by his Hall of Fame rider, Game On Dude hit the wire a length ahead of Kettle Corn, while finishing the ten furlongs in 2:01.88. Clubhouse Ride, the horse many thought would challenge The Dude, never mounted a serious threat and faded to fourth.  

For winning trainer Bob Baffert, today’s victory is his fifth in the Gold Cup. He trains the 6-year-old gelding for a partnership that includes Joe Torre's Diamond Pride, Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, and Bernie Schiappa. With the victory, Game On Dude not only became only the third horse ever to repeat in the historic race, but he also raised his career record to a gaudy mark of 26-14-5-1. The winner's share of the Gold Cup pushed his career earning’s total over the $5 million mark.

One of his owners is destined for baseball’s Hall of Fame, both his trainer and jockey are already in racing’s version. It seems like only a matter of time before this grand gelding joins his connections in immortality. 


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Older Comments about Game On Dude is a Fitting Final Gold Cup Champion...

i have used speed sheets and pace sheets for as long as i can remember . i found out they are meaningles when stars get it their own way. the dude and flat out were so overwhelmingly better than their competition going into the race,it was not funny. the true test of stars is to put up the big speed figures when they run against the very best. many times these type races are exciting and competitive. but you never see the monster speed figures in those races. perfect example was dreaming of julia in gulfstream.she ran an incredible mind boggling speed figure.but she had it her way. never approached those numbers in her ensuing races.
used to go for the Gold CUp and Californian when I could and upwards of 80,000 went along too. Was nothing to see half of Hollywood (the movie type) there. Saw Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Liz Taylor, Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Walter Mattau and many others over the years...Was privy to a turf club seat with my grat friend Mrs. Lu Wright who was a charter member of the Holly turf club and we would sit together. Her husband had been the chief of veterinary services there since the track's outset and she used to play for what she called "popcorn money."
Big performances on a big day of racing yesterday. Beyer says Game On Dude trumped Flat Out 114-107 for the top number.
No tv, I've never been to LA. Well, outside of LAX. That's a shame. I sure hate to see HP come to an end.
ever drive down Prairie Boulevand? Basketball left as it was too dangerous to get the fans there
No horses, bad mangement, decreasing fan base, competition from Indian casinos, etc etc
Why is HP really shutting down? Back in the Day, HP was THE place. Is it true the area around the track has become excessively crime-ridden?
high weights do best on the lead...Dr. William Quirin, Winning at the Races: Computer discoveries in thoroughbred handicapping
Hollywood Park was the first race track I ever went to, and it is very sad to see it go. Game on Dude has left us with a nice memory of the history that has been written at this track.
fitting finale. Thanks GOD. And Mike Smith who rode the horse to perfection and Bob Baffert. We will all miss this track.
at 9 i think dude can get the best of dan.
I'm not a big Baffert fan, but I am a big Dude fan. And the only thing I can say about his race today is: It's as it should be. Nice write, Brian.
Now I really want to see him and Wise Dan face off. It can be at 9f on synthetics; I just want to see it happen.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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