Game On Dude fails to claim third San Antonio Stakes

The Sports NetworkFebruary 8, 2014 

Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Odds-on favorite Game On Dude faltered down the stretch Saturday in his attempt to win a third straight San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude battled with Blueskiesnrainbows in the 1 1/8-mile race. The 3-10 favorite in the seven-horse field was to the outside of the 7-2 second pick as the field went up the backstretch. Joining the pair along rail was 26-1 longshot Imperative.

At the top of the stretch there were five horses stretched across the track. Game On Dude began to tire with a furlong to run.

Moving to the lead with Imperative was 15-1 longshot Blingo. The two battled down the stretch with Blingo posting a half-length victory. Game On Dude, ridden by Mike Smith, finished fifth.

"The pace was fast. It was (too fast) based on where we finished," Smith explained. "When you go that fast, you pay for it, and we both paid for it.

"If I were to take it back, maybe I would have just let (Blueskiesnrainbows) go, I don't know. Maybe I don't win either way. We just went too quick, that's all I know."

The 7-year-old has now lost three straight after having a six-race win streak going into last year's Breeders' Cup Classic.

"I was a little disappointed in the ride," said Jim Barnes, assistant to Baffert. "You have to have some confidence in your horse. I'm watching this 22 and 46 going a mile and an eighth - I don't know what else to say. We went too fast. Depending on how far you let (Blueskiesnrainbows) go - you don't do what you did. You knew the other horse was going. You're on the outside - just sit within a couple lengths of him."

Smith was Game On Dude's primary jockey last year. Martin Garcia was aboard when the gelding won the Pacific Classic by 8 1/2 lengths in August. Smith took over the mount in December 2012 from Rafael Bejarano when Game On Dude won the Native Diver. Bejarano replaced Chantal Sutherland after Game On Dude finished second in the Pacific Classic in 2012.

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