'Game on Dude' Headlines BREEDERS CUP CHALLENGE Series on NBC
Perennial division leader Game On Dude headlines a bid for a Breeders' Cup Classic berth for the $500,000 Gold Cup in the "Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In"™ during NBCSN's live telecast this Saturday, June 28, at 7 p.m. ET from Santa Anita.
The 75th Gold Cup, run at 1 ¼ miles for 3-year-olds and up, will be the second of 11 live telecasts (18 races) under the "Breeders' Cup Challenge Series" banner on NBC and NBCSN.
Saturday's telecast will be hosted by Laffit Pincay, who will be joined by analysts Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss, and reporters Nick Luck, Carolyn Manno and Eddie Olczyk. Olczyk, lead analyst for NBC Sports Group's hockey coverage and a veteran horse racing enthusiast, makes his on-air horse racing coverage debut during this Saturday's telecast.
Game On Dude has dominated the Southern California Classic division ranks for the better part of four years under trainer Bob Baffert, and figures to go off as an odds-on favorite in the Gold Cup - run over a surface on which he's 8-for-11. Owned in partnership by former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre's Diamond Pride Racing, Bernie Schiappa, the Lanni Family Trust and Mercedes Stable's, Game On Dude is ridden Mike Smith, the all-time leading Breeders' Cup rider with 20 victories in the Championships.
Game On Dude is the 7-year-old son of 1998 Classic winner Awesome Again and has run in the last three Breeders' Cup Classics, finishing second at Churchill Downs in 2011 before finishing seventh and ninth, respectively, at Santa Anita the past two years. He has been the most dominant older horse in training in his home state, having won eight Grade I's in a career, including a tour de force in the Santa Anita Handicap in March over the first two finishers in the 2013 Classic, Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge. Game on Dude enters the Gold Cup coming off of a second-place finish in the Charles Town Classic (GII) on April 19.
Game On Dude won the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Gold Cup run at Hollywood Park, then called the Hollywood Gold Cup. Game On Dude will face KM Racing Enterprise's Imperative, the upset in the Charles Town Classic for trainer George Papaprodromou. The 4-year-old son of Bernardini was just 1-for-7 in 2013 but has reached a new level since being claimed for $50,000 in December and switched over to the main track.
Six-S Racing Stable and Nikolas Petralia's Clubhouse Ride has raced against Game On Dude five times in the past two years and while he's yet to beat the big horse, his stretch run has gotten him a second-place finish three times. The 6-year-old son of Candy Ride (ARG) won his last race in the local prep, the May 31 Californian (GII) and figures to be late danger in the Gold Cup, a race he came fourth in last year.
Rounding out the prospective field for the Gold Cup at Santa Anita are Rick Awtrey and George Todaro's Fury Kapcori, a winner of 4 races this year for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer; Lideris, a grade I winner in Peru who will be making his U.S. debut; Gallant Stable's Majestic Harbor, winner of the Tokyo City (GIII) in March over the track; and Little Red Feather Racing's Salto Del Indio (CHI), a Grade I winner in his native Chile, making his first U.S. start..
The complete field for the Gold Cup, to be run as the eighth race on a 10-race card, with jockeys, weights and morning line in post position order: Game On Dude, Mike Smith, 124, (4-5); Fury Kapcori, Gary Stevens, 119, (9-2); Clubhouse Ride, Joe Talamo, 119, (9-2); Imperative, Kent Desormeaux, 119, (4-1); Salto Del Indio, Brice Blanc 121, (8-1); Majestic Harbor, Tyler Baze, 119, (12-1), and Lideris, Juan Enriquez, 124, (20-1).