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SAN ANTONIO STAKES QUOTES
CHANTAL SUTHERLAND, GAME ON DUDE, WINNER: “He’s such a good horse. He was strong today and had a lot left. He wasn’t even sweating when he came back; it was like a workout for him. I had to look at the TV to see if anybody was around because I couldn’t hear anybody. When I looked at the TV and saw it was clear sailing I was so happy. What’s amazing about this horse is that when I went up to Joe Talamo’s horse (Skipshot) he was so aggressive and wanted to pass him. Once he passed him he relaxed. I knew he needed to keep doing his business and he was very responsive to me.”
BOB BAFFERT, GAME ON DUDE, 3-10 FAVORITE, WINNER: “He ran hard. He’d been training really well. We knew he was up for a big race, but I thought my horses yesterday would run great and they laid eggs, so, (today) it worked out.
“(Joe) Talamo was out there (on Skipshot) going really fast, I thought, you got to watch out for certain jockeys picking up speed. But she (Sutherland) put the horse in a good spot and that’s what you have to do to this horse. You gotta let him run, and once he gets to running, (it’s) come get me. He’s tough. He likes to run like that.
“I think Chantal did a great job not panicking when he didn’t break . . . She got him running. They were going pretty rapid up front, but this horse, once you get him in a high cruising speed, he’s so dangerous. If you grab a hold of him, he’s not effective at all.”
Next race, Santa Anita Handicap on March 3 or Dubai World Cup March 31? “A lot has to do with what kind of weight we get and all that stuff. Last year he got in really light (115 pounds). We’re just going to enjoy it right now. He’s nominated to Dubai, but the thing about Dubai is it’s getting more and more difficult for American horses to win there because of the new track layout and the synthetic, you don’t know what to expect. We can think about. It’s an option, so we’re going to leave all options open for now.”
JOE TORRE, CO-OWNER, GAME ON DUDE: “This is exciting. This is the first time I’ve been able to watch him in person. Last time, at the Breeders’ Cup, my daughter had a performance, so that obviously took precedence. It’s been a great day.”
WHEN ASKED IF GAME ON DUDE WOULD STAY HOME AND DEFEND HIS TITLE IN THE SANTA ANITA HANDICAP: “When I was managing, I always relied on my coaches when I had to make decisions on the baseball field . . . the main thing is we want to do what’s right for the horse and the one who knows best about that is Bob Baffert.”
WHEN ASKED IF HIS LONGTIME COLLEAGUE DON ZIMMER HAD WATCHED THE RACE: “I spoke with Don yesterday and all he wanted to know was ‘what are the odds going to be?’ He likes to play 20-1 shots, so I don’t think he got involved today.”
JOE TORRE: “I trust my trainer . . . what can I tell you, and most of all, Chantal. This is the first chance I’ve had a chance to see Dude run in person, so it’s a good thrill for me.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Joe Torre of Harrison, NY (Diamond Pride, LLC); the Lanni Family Trust of Pasadena; and Ernest Moody and Maria Vila of Las Vegas (Mercedes Stable).