SON OF AWESOME AGAIN MADE HISTORY BY MAKING CHANTAL SUTHERLAND FIRST-EVER FEMALE JOCKEY TO WIN PRESTIGIOUS GRADE I BIG ‘CAP
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 25, 2014)–Game On Dude, who was retired from racing on Sept. 18 as the only three-time winner in the 77-year history of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, will parade between the sixth and seventh races on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Bob Baffert, the beloved 7-year-old gelding thrilled fans for the better part of five racing seasons through 34 starts and 16 victories–14 of which were graded stakes.
“Dude” as he was affectionately referred to by Baffert, will make his way through Santa Anita’s Seabiscuit Walking Ring following race six, at approximately 3:35 p.m. PDT. Ridden by Dana Barnes, he will then head to the main track, where he’ll make a right turn and proceed east to the track’s Eddie Logan Suite on the Club House turn. From there, he’ll be turned around and pointed to the Winner’s Circle where he’ll be honored with a brief ceremony that will include a video tribute.
Owned by a partnership that includes baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride, LLC, the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, LLC and Bernard Schiappa, Game On Dude made history in winning his first Big ‘Cap in 2011, as he was ridden to a nose victory by Chantal Sutherland, who thus became the first female jockey to win North America’s longest continually run hundred grander.
Under Mike Smith, Game On Dude won his second Big ‘Cap by a record 7 ¾ lengths in 2013 and he went on to register powerful front-running victories later that year in both the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup and the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar–becoming only the second horse in history to sweep California’s three biggest added money races for older horses in the same year.
A Kentucky-bred son of Awesome Again of out of the Devil His Due mare Worldly Pleasure, Game On registered his 16th and final win in this year’s Big ‘Cap, winning gate to wire under Smith by 1 ¾ lengths.
Pressed through blistering fractions early, Game On Dude made the early lead in his final start, the Pacific Classic, on Aug. 24, but faded to fourth, beaten 5 ¼ lengths by undefeated 3-year-old sensation Shared Belief.
“He ran a great race in the Pacific Classic, but it’s gotten to the point where there is always going to be some horse who is going to be sacrificed by running with him and forcing him into ridiculous fractions, as was the case at Del Mar,” Baffert said last week. “He’s gotten beat three races in a row and it’s not fun for the horse. He’s been too good for us. When he was great, he was great.”
In addition to his 16 wins, Game On Dude retires with seven seconds and one third place finish, and total earnings of $6,498,893.