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Jul 13, 2012

Game On Dude tops stablemate in Hollywood Gold Cup


Inglewood, CA (Sports Network) - Odds-on favorite Game On Dude held off a hard charging Richard's Kid to capture Saturday's $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park. The five-year-old gelding redeemed himself in the 1 1/4 mile race after finishing second last year.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude was sent off as the 2-5 favorite in the seven horse field and stablemate Richard's Kid was the 5-2 second choice. Last year the gelding was 9-2 in the Gold Cup versus seven rivals.

Setting the pace was 19-1 longshot Spud Spivens with Game On Dude to his outside pressing the leader. Richard's Kid was running off the pace under jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Game On Dude, ridden by Chantal Sutherland, took the lead on the far turn and quickly opened his advantage approaching the stretch. Richard's Kid began his rally on the final turn and easily went past Spud Spivens into second.

At the top of the stretch Game On Dude had a clear lead with Baffert's other horse trying to run him down. The favorite proved too much on this day as he maintained his lead down the stretch and registered a 1 1/2 length win over Richard's Kid.

"They both ran a great race," Baffert said. "It's going to be a good combo to take down to Del Mar with me. I'm proud of them both and I'm happy for Chantal. I could tell she was pretty nervous."

Kettle Korn finished third followed by Spud Spivens, Love Theway Youare, Anthony's Cross and Thirtyfirststreet.

Game On Dude covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.19 over Hollywood Park's synthetic track.

The win puts the gelding back in the Breeders' Cup Classic. The Gold Cup is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race giving the winner a guaranteed spot in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic Nov. 3 at Santa Anita. Game On Dude was second in last year's Classic behind Drosselmeyer.

This is the second straight Gold Cup which Baffert trained the top two horses. In 2011 his First Dude nosed out Game On Dude. Sutherland was aboard the gelding both times. She becomes the first female jockey to win the Gold Cup.

Owned by a partnership that includes Joe Torre's Diamond Pride Stable, Game On Dude picks up $300,000 for the win. The five-year-old has career earnings of $2,644,658 with eight wins in 18 starts.

Game On Dude began 2012 with a win in the San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita on Feb. 5. His next start was in the $10 million Dubai World Cup where he finished 12th.

Following a two month break after Dubai he led wire-to-wire to win the Californian five weeks ago by more than seven lengths.

Baffert has now won the the Gold Cup four times. In addition to First Dude, he also won the event with Congaree (2003) and Real Quiet (1999).

Game On Dude paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10. Richard's Kid returned $2.60 and $2.10, and Kettle Corn paid $2.60 to show.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another was paraded between the third and fourth races Saturday. The appearance was the last chance for fans to see I'll Have Another before he begins his life as a stallion in Japan.

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