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Dec 28, 2012

Game On Dude to go for San Antonio repeat


Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Leading older thoroughbred Game On Dude will be given the opportunity to defend his title in the San Antonio Handicap during Santa Anita's upcoming 76th race meet. The 5-year-old gelding is expected to make his 2013 debut in the 1 1/8-mile stakes on the first Sunday in February.

"He came out his race (the Native Diver at Hollywood Park) really well," trainer Bob Baffert said. "We'll probably run him in the San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 3."

Owned in part by Joe Torre, Game On Dude posted a 1 1/4-length win over Nonios in the Native Diver, giving the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap winner some redemption after his seventh-place finish as the 13-10 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.

Game On Dude will begin his 6-year-old campaign with a lifetime mark of 10 wins in 22 starts for $3,132,158. Following the San Antonio, Baffert will have the gelding going for another Big 'Cap victory on March 2.

The Hall of Fame trainer is looking forward to the San Anita meeting after experiencing great highs and lows during 2012.

"It starts a fresh new year," said Baffert, who turns 60 on Jan. 13. "It's the day after Christmas and it holds a lot of tradition. People look forward to it. It's like opening day of the NFL season.

"A lot of things happened this past year, but it's still like that Bill Murray movie, 'Groundhog Day,'. Every day's the same thing."

Baffert suffered a heart attack while in Dubai for the World Cup in which Game On Dude finished 12th. The popular trainer was able to recover nicely from his ordeal and see Game On Dude win the Californian, Hollywood Gold Cup and Awesome Again Stakes in addition to the Native Diver.

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