'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).
The Gold Cup will be one of six grade I races in the Classic division to be televised by NBC Sports Group in the "Breeders' Cup Challenge Series" this year. The five other races include: William Hill Haskell at Monmouth Park July 27 (NBC); the Whitney at Saratoga August 2 (NBC), TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 24 (NBCSN) and Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park (NBCSN) and Awesome Again at Santa Anita September 27 (NBCSN). The complete "Breeders' Cup Challenge Series Win and You're In" television schedule may be found at the following link: http://challenge.breederscup.com/schedule
ABOUT BREEDERS' CUP
The Breeders' Cup administers the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships. The Breeders' Cup also administers the Breeders' Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2014 Breeders' Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 races and purses totaling $26 million will be held October 31-Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders' Cup press releases appear on the Breeders' Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders' Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING
NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when the NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.
The 2014 Belmont Stakes on NBC, featuring California Chrome's Triple Crown attempt, averaged 20.4 million viewers - the second-highest Belmont Stakes viewership on record, trailing only the 21.9 million viewers for NBC's telecast of Smarty Jones' Triple Crown attempt in 2004 (People Meter viewership dates to 1988). In addition, the 2014 Kentucky Derby marked the fourth time in six years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) that NBC's Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers, and the 2014 Preakness Stakes registered a 6.0 household rating, ranking as the highest-rated Preakness Stakes since 2009 (6.8 for Rachel Alexandra's victory).