Game On Dude to Dubai?

Updated: March 8, 2011, 6:48 PM ET
By Steve Andersen | Daily Racing Form



ARCADIA, Calif. -- The $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap last Saturday was the richest victory of Game On Dude's career, but trainer Bob Baffert has his sights set on an even bigger prize.

On Tuesday, Baffert said he wants to start Game On Dude in the $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates on March 26 -- if he can gain a berth.

Game On Dude takes the 2011 edition of the Santa Anita Handicap.
Horsephotos.comGame On Dude (inside) survives a late surge from Setsuko and a stewards inquiry to win the Santa Anita Handicap.
Baffert was in contact Tuesday with Dubai World Cup representatives who have told him that Game On Dude is not a certain starter. The race has a maximum field of 14 starters.

"We're waiting for an invite," Baffert said. "We're on the outside looking in right now. They said they'd let me know in a couple of days.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed that we're getting an invite. We've got our bags packed."

If Game On Dude secures a berth in the race, he would travel to Dubai on March 15. As of Tuesday, Baffert said he was delighted with Game On Dude's condition.

"He came out of it great," Baffert said. "The race didn't take anything out of him. I know the mile and a quarter won't be a problem."

The Dubai World Cup is run over 1 1/4 miles on a Tapeta Footings surface. It is the same distance as the Santa Anita Handicap, which was run on a sand-and-clay track. Game On Dude has never raced on a synthetic surface.

Game On Dude, 4, won his first Grade 1 stakes in the Santa Anita Handicap as a 14-1 outsider, finishing a nose in front of Setsuko after a roughly run race. A bumping incident in early stretch between Game On Dude, Setsuko, and 1-2 favorite Twirling Candy was the subject of a 12-minute inquiry, but the order of finish was not changed.

Owned by Terry Lanni, Mercedes Stable, and Bernie Schiappa, Game On Dude, a 4-year-old gelding by Awesome Again, has won 4 of 8 starts and $852,658. Last year, he was seventh in the Florida Derby and fourth in the Belmont Stakes, his only previous starts in Grade 1 races.

The Big Cap was Game On Dude's second stakes win, preceded by the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in Texas last May.

Baffert will attempt to win his third Dubai World Cup with Game On Dude, having won with 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001. Last year, the Baffert-trained Richard's Kid finished seventh in the Dubai World Cup.

The Hall of Fame trainer considered sending Misremembered to Dubai, but the 5-year-old horse, who won the 2010 Santa Anita Handicap, will be pointed to the $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 9, he said Tuesday.

Baffert also will start Euroears in the $2 million Golden Shaheen for sprinters over six furlongs on March 26. The winner of the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes in January, Euroears breezed a half-mile in 47 seconds at Santa Anita on Tuesday.