Game On Dude wins Santa Anita Handicap
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - Game On Dude led all the way in romping to victory by 7 3/4 lengths in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday, the largest winning margin in the 76-year history of the race.
Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Game On Dude ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.14 and paid $4.60, $3.40 and $2.10 as the 6-5 favorite. The 6-year-old gelding also won the race in 2011, making him the third horse to win twice.
"He knocked it out of the park, he really did, it was extremely impressive,'' said Smith, who won his first Big `Cap.
"He got into this great rhythm he has, he's got a real high cruising speed, and he was well within himself the whole way around there.''
Clubhouse Ride returned $13.40 and $6.80 at 27-1 odds, while Called to Serve was another nose back in third and paid $3.40 to show as the 4-1 third choice under Hall of Famer Gary Stevens.
"There was no beating Game On Dude,'' Stevens said. "I should have been an easy second. We got in tight at the three-eighths pole and he doesn't like it down inside.''
Defending Big `Cap champion Ron the Greek finished fourth as the 5-2 second choice in the field of nine for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
"I got my horse in a position he wanted to be in, and he gave me a good race,'' jockey Jose Lezcano said. "The only thing is that Game On Dude is so fast nothing compares. We ran hard the whole way, but we couldn't keep up with him.''
Game On Dude gave Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his fourth Big `Cap win. The gelding is co-owned by retired Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who couldn't attend because he is managing in the World Baseball Classic in Arizona. Baffert's other entry, Guilt Trip, finished fifth.
"I'm so proud of him the way he's developed into such a great horse,'' Baffert said about Game On Dude.
The victory, worth $450,000, increased Game On Dude's career earnings to $3,702,158, with 12 wins in 24 starts.
In the $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile, Suggestive Boy held off the late charge of Silentio to win the Grade 1 race by a nose, giving Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally his 700th career win at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, Suggestive Boy ran the distance on the turf in 1:32.89.
"Seven hundred wins at Santa Anita? I thought it was 700 for everywhere,'' said McAnally, who gained fame in the early 1980s as the trainer of John Henry. "We've always felt (Suggestive Boy) was a good horse. The only thing I told Joe was to keep him relaxed no matter what the pace is.''
Suggestive Boy paid $5, $3.40 and $2.80 as the 3-2 favorite in the field of eight.
"That (winner's circle) picture is going up on my wall,'' Talamo said. "I've always wanted to win a big stake for Mr. McAnally. He did an unbelievable job with this horse, he was very fresh and I just had to point him in the right direction.''
Silentio returned $4.60 and $3.40, while Fed Biz was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $4.40 to show in his first race on the turf.
The victory, worth $180,000, increased Suggestive Boy's career earnings to $677,370, with seven wins in 13 starts.
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