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Jul 08, 2011

Baffert has a couple of "Dudes" in Hollywood Gold Cup


Inglewood, CA (Sports Network) - First Dude and Game On Dude have been entered by trainer Bob Baffert in Saturday's $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park. The pair of four-year-olds are two of the eight older thoroughbreds set to start in the 72nd running of the 1 1/4-mile race.

The Gold Cup is a Breeders' Cup 'Win and You're In' race giving the winner a berth in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic November 5 at Churchill Downs.

Breaking from post four will be Game On Dude and jockey Chantal Sutherland. The four-year-old gelding is co-owned by Diamond Pride LLC, the Lanni Family Trust and Mercedes Stable. First Dude will be ridden by Martin Garcia from post seven.

"They're ready," said Baffert. "We're going to put Game On Dude on the lead. A mile and a quarter is no problem for him. The distance should not be a problem for First Dude either. He's like Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal), a big intimidating horse."

Game On Dude won the Santa Anita Handicap earlier this year and is coming off a second-place finish in the Charles Town Classic and a third in the Lone Star Park Handicap. In his career the gelding has won four of 10 starts for $924,658.

Owned by Donald Dizney, First Dude is working on a two race win streak. He won an allowance race at Santa Anita Park in April and captured the Alysheba the next month at Churchill Downs.

The colt has earned $1,142,140 in 16 starts with three victories.

Awesome Gem is back to defend his crown in the Gold Cup. The eight-year-old gelding will start from post five with David Flores in the saddle.

"Awesome Gem has plenty of personality, and he does whatever we ask him to do," trainer Craig Dollase noted on the owner's website. "He makes a trainer's job easy. I can run him almost any distance on any surface and know he will represent us well."

Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Awesome Gem is the wealthiest horse in the race with more than $2.5 million in earnings. In his last start, he was second to Headache in last month's Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows.

He posted a length victory over Flat Out in the Lone Star Park Handicap after being fourth in the Alysheba and sixth in the Charles Town Classic.

From the rail out here is the field for the Hollywood Gold Cup: Twirling Candy, Joel Rosario: Miss Match, Joe Talamo; Setsuko, Victor Espinoza; Game On Dude, Chantal Sutherland; Awesome Gem, David Flores; Soul Candy, Garrett Gomez; First Dude, Martin Garcia and Dark Cove, Rafael Bejarano.

Post-time for the Hollywood Gold Cup is set for 7:40 p.m. (et) and will be televised on ESPN.

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