Game On Dude rebounded from a fruitless trip to Dubai in March with a dominating 7 1/4-length victory in Hollywood Park's $150,000 Californian S. (G2) on Saturday. The race marked the first win on a synthetic surface for the Bob Baffert-trained 5-year-old and was the largest margin of victory in the 54 runnings of the race.
The Californian field was reduced to just four with the scratch of Uh Oh Bango, and Game On Dude was sent off the even-money favorite. Chantal Sutherland hustled the dark bay gelding to the front right away, with Morning Line about a length behind around the first turn. Itching to go on, Sutherland cut her mount loose on the far turn, and he put away the field in short order, widening in the final stages without any urging. He stopped the timer in 1:48.01 for the nine furlongs.
“I knew he’d run well, but I didn’t think I’d see that,” Baffert said, referring to a series of good workouts that Game On Dude had turned in during the past couple of weeks.
Joe Torre, former manager of the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers who is part-owner of Game On Dude, was on hand. “This race was great, and Bob didn't know what to expect (after the trip to Dubai), but it couldn't have been better.”
Sutherland, who has been aboard Game On Dude for his last seven starts, was full of praise afterward. “He made me look like a champion. It’s so much fun to ride a horse like that, I can’t tell you. It’s just unbelievable, the power and so much endurance.”
Chantal Sutherland celebrates 'The Dude's" win in the
Californian S. at Hollywood Park
Game On Dude’s victory was worth $90,000. A son of Awesome Again, Game On Dude has won 7 of 17 starts and $2,344,658 for owners Bernie Schiappa, the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable, and Torre.
Game On Dude will likely make his next start July 7 in the Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup.