Saturday, Santa Anita Park
AWESOME AGAIN S.-GI, $250,000, SAX, 9-29, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:48 4/5, ft.
1--GAME ON DUDE, 124, g, 5, by Awesome Again
1st Dam: Worldly Pleasure (SW, $183,095), by Devil His Due
2nd Dam: Fast Pleasure, by Fast Play
3rd Dam: Sis Pleasure Fager, by What A Pleasure
($210,000 RNA yrl '08 KEESEP). O-Diamond Pride LLC, Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable LLC & B Schiappa; B-Adena Springs (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Rafael Bejarano. $150,000. Lifetime Record: 20-9-5-1, $2,994,658. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2--Nonios, 116, c, 3, Pleasantly Perfect--StylishManner, by Touch Gold. ($21,000 yrl '10 KEESEP; $73,000 2yo '11 OBSAPR). O-Green B Smith Jr; B-Hermitage Farm LLC (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer. $50,000.
3--Richard's Kid, 119, h, 7, Lemon Drop Kid--Tough Broad, by Broad Brush. O-D Kenney, Triple B Farms (Boghossian), Westside Rentalscom, et al; B-Fitzhugh LLC (MD); T-Doug F O'Neill. $30,000.
Margins: 3 1/4, 4HF, NK. Odds: 0.30, 10.00, 6.00.
Also Ran: Rail Trip, Suggestive Boy (Arg), Winning Machine, Empire Way, Groovin' Solo, Balladry.
Click for the brisnet.com chart, the brisnet.com PPs or the free brisnet.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Taylor Made Sales.
Game On Dude defeated the recently retired Awesome Gem to top an Awesome Again exacta in last year's GI Goodwood S., but was dismissed at odds of 14-1 in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. Sent to the fore under the lights at Churchill Downs, the dark bay led on a reasonable pace and carried the advantage well into the final furlong before being overhauled late by Drosselmeyer. He returned to action with a smooth 5 1/4-length success in the GII San Antonio S. at this track Feb. 5 and passed the GI Santa Anita H. in early March in favor of the G1 Dubai World Cup Mar. 31. He never sniffed the lead on that occasion, checked in a distant 12th. The trip left few lingering effects, as Game On Dude came back with a career-best 116 Beyer in the GII Californian S. June 2 and added a 1 1/2-length victory over Richard's Kid (Lemon Drop Kid) in the GI Hollywood Gold Cup July 7. He was the 13-10 chalk in the GI TVG Pacific Classic in his most recent start at Del Mar Aug. 26 and was well clear past the eighth pole, only to be outfinished by the upstart Dullahan (Even the Score).
Content to sit second as GIII Longacres Mile hero Winning Machine (Toccet) set the pace, Game On Dude loped along comfortably and went on the attack when called upon by the in-form Rafael Bejarano nearing the stretch. It looked for a few strides as if Nonios, ground-saving throughout, might make a race of it for the final furlong, but the heavy favorite found another gear and reported home comfortably best.
"This horse is just getting better and better, and when he gets on dirt, he's a different horse," commented winning conditioner Bob Baffert. "[Rafael] rides a lot of favorites, and sometimes it's not going to work, but he handles the pressure really well. When you're 1 to 5, he knows just keep him out of trouble and let them run their race. If they win, they win. If they get beat, give them a chance."