Owner: B. Schiappa, Lanni Family Trust, Diamond Pride & Mercedes Stable
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Game on Dude has earned the top billing on this race.
He is the definition of horse-for-the-course as he is a perfect 5-for-5 lifetime at Santa Anita, including a hotly-contested victory in last year's Santa Anita Handicap and a solid victory in the Awesome Again just five weeks ago.
This year, he has won four times in six tries, including two Grade 1 and two Grade 2 races. His only loss came on the final strides of the Grade 1 Pacific Classic over the synthetic track at Del Mar to Dullahan.
Last year, he looked like a winner in the Classic until Drosselmeyer caught him in the final strides. This year, if he is going to lose, it will have to be in the same fashion.
For his last race, trainer Bob Baffert made a jockey switch. He changed Chantal Sutherland for Rafael Bejarano. And with no disrespect to Sutherland, Bejarano is Southern California's top rider and he brings an immediate upgrade now in the irons.
Baffert is going for his first Classic believe it or not, and has the horse to beat, there is no doubt about that.
Game on Dude has been working like a champ and looks phenomenal in the mornings. His main opposition will come from Ron the Greek, Flat Out and Fort Larned.
If there might be any weakness in his armor might be the 10 furlongs, which he has been shaky sometimes.
Just like Wise Dan, Point of Entry and yesterday's Ladies Classic winner Royal Delta, he is in the thick of the Horse of the Year Award debate. A win here could solidify his chances.