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GAME ON DUDE HEADS WORLD-CLASS ROSTER OF HORSES PREPPING FOR NOV. 2 & 3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS AS SANTA ANITA CARDS FIVE GRADE I BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN AND YOU’RE IN’ STAKES ON SATURDAY
ARCADIA, (Sept. 26, 2012)—Leading Breeders’ Cup Classic candidate Game On Dude heads a deep, world-class roster of horses running at Santa Anita on Saturday in five Grade I Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” stakes for those seeking to secure berths in the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held Nov. 2 & 3 at Santa Anita.
In addition to the five Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races, Santa Anita will also run the inaugural Unzip Me, for 3-year-old fillies. The Unzip Me will be the final race on an 11-race program that will include a total of 118 horses, excluding those who are on the also-eligible list in their respective races.
The five Grade I stakes, all worth $250,000, are as follows: The FrontRunner (formerly the Norfolk), for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles who are prepping for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the Zenyatta (formerly the Lady’s Secret), for fillies and mares three and up at 1 1/16 miles, the Chandelier (formerly the Oak Leaf), for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles prepping for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; the Awesome Again (formerly the Goodwood), for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles prepping for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 ¼ miles, and the Rodeo Drive (formerly the Yellow Ribbon), for fillies and mares aged three and up at 1 ¼ miles on turf prepping for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
A total of 53 horses have been entered in the “Win and You’re In” stakes which along with the Unzip Me, will account for an all-stakes Pick Six on Saturday that is comprised of 65 horses.
Game On Dude drew the rail in the Awesome Again and will face eight rivals, all of whom are hoping to run in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 ¼ miles on Nov. 3.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Game On Dude won the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap and comes off a second-place finish, beaten a half-length as the 6-5 favorite in Del Mar’s Grade I Pacific Classic run on Polytrack Aug. 26.
Ridden by Chantal Sutherland in his last nine races, four of them victories, Game On Dude will be handled by Rafael Bejarano and will return to natural dirt on Saturday. Bejarano’s only previous try with “Dude” resulted in an allowance win at Santa Anita on January 27, 2011.
A gem of consistency, the 5-year-old Awesome Again gelding is owned by Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride, LLC, the Lanni Family Trust, Bernard Schiappa and partners.
Game On Dude took full advantage of his inherent speed the last time he drew the rail, in the Grade II Californian at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 2. Sent to the lead by Sutherland, he crushed three rivals, winning by 7 ½ lengths at the Awesome Again distance of 1 1/8 miles.
Although the run to the first turn was shorter on Hollywood’s 1 1/8- mile main track, it would be no surprise to see Bejarano employ similar tactics on Santa Anita’s one mile oval Saturday. Game On Dude has a lifetime record of 19-8-5-1, with earnings of $2,844,658.
Richard’s Kid, who was a troubled third in the Pacific Classic, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by Game On Dude in his first start for new owners Kenney, Triple B Farms, Westside Rentals, et al and trainer Doug O’Neill rates a huge chance in the Awesome Again.
Like Game On Dude, Richard’s Kid gets a new rider on Saturday, as the multiple Eclipse Award winning Garrett Gomez will take over. Gomez has ridden the 7-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid twice, winning the Grade II San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita on Feb. 7, 2010, as well as splitting a 14-horse field in his next start, the 2010 Dubai World Cup.
It is expected that Richard’s Kid, who is three for seven going 1 1/8 miles, will get plenty of pace to run at, which could facilitate his late kick.
Richard’s Kid has a lifetime mark of 36-11-3-8, with $2,106,385 in earnings.
Jay Em Ess Stable’s Rail Trip, who ran an even fourth, beaten 4 ½ lengths in the Pacific Classic, will again get the services of jockey Jose Valdivia Jr.
Trained by Ron Ellis, Rail Trip and Valdivia sat close to the early pace in the Grade II San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on July 28, winning by a half-length.
Since returning to Ellis’ barn from New York this past spring, the 7-year-old Jump Start gelding has experienced a rebirth of sorts and has trained well at his Hollywood Park base since returning from Del Mar. His career record is 21-9-6-1, with earnings of $1,313,790.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will send out the talented 3-year-old Nonios in the Awesome Again. A winner of Hollywood Park’s Grade III Affirmed Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on June 3, Nonios was subsequently second in the Grade II Swaps Stakes on July 4, second in the Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 29 and most recently fifth, beaten 3 ¾ lengths in the Grade I Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 25.
Possessed with good tactical speed, the son of Pleasantly Perfect will be reunited with Martin Pedroza, who rode him in both Hollywood Park starts. His record stands at 7-3-2-1, with earnings of $359,000.
The complete field for the Awesome Again, which will be run as the 10th on an 11-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Game On Dude, Rafael Bejarano, 124; Winning Machine, Javier Matias, 119; Nonios, Martin Pedroza, 116; Groovin’ Solo, David Flores, 116; Suggestive Boy, Joe Talamo, 121; Empire Way, Brice Blanc, 116; Richard’s Kid, Garrett Gomez, 119; Balladry, Victor Espinoza, 119, and Rail Trip, Jose Valdivia Jr., 119.
A winner of the Grade I Clement Hirsch at Del Mar on Aug. 4, Jay Em Ess Stable’s Include Me Out is a winner of four of her last five starts—all this year—and she could be the horse to beat Saturday in the Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles—a prep for the Grade I Ladies Classic at 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 2.
Trained by Ron Ellis and ridden by Joe Talamo, Include Me Out, a 4-year-old filly by Include, is three for three at the distance and has a 5-3-1-0 record at Santa Anita.
The lone blemish on her 2012 resume is a second-place finish in the Grade I Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 16, at odds of 3-5. Include Me Out has a tractable style and usually stalks the early pace. Her career record stands at 11-6-3-0, with earnings of $683,600.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out Grade I Personal Ensign winner Love and Pride in Saturday’s Zenyatta. The Personal Ensign, run Aug. 26 at Saratoga, was contested at 1 1/8 miles and was the third win of the year for the 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy. Love and Pride has been on or near the lead in all of her career wins and is expected to vie for the lead again Saturday.
George Krikorian’s homebred Star Billing, who was second, beaten a neck from well off the pace by Include Me Out in the Hirsch at Del Mar, would appreciate a fast pace. She’ll be reunited with Victor Espinoza, who was aboard for her lone Grade I tally in Hollywood Park’s Matriarch last November. Trained by John Shirreffs, the 4-year-old filly by Dynaformer is 9-3-3-1 lifetime, with earnings of $415,067.
CRK Stable’s multiple Grade I winning Switch, who opened up early in Del Mar’s Hirsch and was fourth, beaten 2 ½ lengths, will again be ridden by Martin Garcia and will attempt to pad her lifetime bankroll of more than $1.3 million. Trained by John Sadler, the 5-year-old mare by Quiet American has a 5-1-2-1 record at the distance of 1 1/16 miles.
Trainer Larry Jones and jockey Rosie Napravnik will venture west to team up with Joyful Victory, one of many Zenyatta entrants with a forwardly placed running style. Most recently second in the Grade II Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park on Aug. 11, the 4-year-old daughter of Tapit’s lone graded stakes win came in the Grade II Fantasy at Oaklawn Park in April, 2011.
Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale has procured the services of Rafael Bejarano for the Chilean-bred Amani, who was a non-threatening sixth against males in the Aug. 26 Pacific Classic. A multiple Group I winning champion in her native Chile, Amani will be making her third stateside start on Saturday.
The complete Zenyatta field, which will be run as the eighth race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Amani, Rafael Bejarano, 121; Love Theway Youare, David Flores, 124; Switch, Garrett Gomez, 119; Joyful Victory, Rosie Napravnik, 119; Star Billing, Victor Espinoza, 121; Include Me Out, Joe Talamo, 124; Love and Pride, Martin Garcia, 124; Via Villaggio, Martin Pedroza, 116, and Miss Mittagong, Mario Gutierrez, 119.
Undefeated in four starts, Pegram, Watson or Weitman’s Executiveprivilege is the horse to beat in the Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles—a prep for those seeking to run in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at the same distance Nov. 2.
Trained by Bob Baffert, the Kentucky-bred daughter of First Samurai comes off a nose victory in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante at seven furlongs Sept. 1. She’ll be attempting two turns for the first time on Saturday.
Spendthrift Farm’s Beholder, a Kentucky-bred filly by Henny Hughes, was tagged right on the wire by Executiveprivilege in the Debutante and she too will be going a route of ground for the first time Saturday, in her fourth career start.
Kona Stable’s Switch to the Lead, an impressive first-out maiden special weight winner June 28 at Hollywood Park, tried the boys in the Sept. 5 Del Mar Futurity, finishing seventh, beaten 5 ¾ lengths in an 11-horse field. Trained by Patrick Biancone, the Kentucky-bred by Songandaprayer will try two turns for the first time Saturday in her fourth career start.
The complete field for the Chandelier, which will be run as the sixth race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Majestic Minister, Aaron Gryder, 122; Renee’s Queen, Martin Garcia, 122; Switch to the Lead, Victor Espinoza, 122; Wittgenstein, Mario Gutierrez, 122; Beholder, Garrett Gomez, 122; Butterfly Soul, Jorge Carreno, 122; Executiveprivilege, Rafael Bejarano, 122; Scarlet Strike, Joe Talamo, 122; Salamera, A. Castillo, 122; Contessa’s Moment, Iggy Puglisi, 122, and Miss Empire, Martin Pedroza, 122.
J. Paul Reddam Racing’s Know More, a first-out winner of the Grade II Best Pal on Aug. 5 at Del Mar, would appear to be the horse to beat in Saturday’s FrontRunner Stakes, for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles—who are seeking to run in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at the same distance on Nov. 3.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, the Kentucky-bred colt by Lion Heart was second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 5. The FrontRunner will be his first time at two turns.
Bob Baffert will send out three juveniles in the FrontRunner: Carving, Den’s Legacy and Power Broker.
Owned by Westrock Stables, Den’s Legacy overcame a troubled start to break his maiden going six furlongs on Aug. 26 at Del Mar. A Florida-bred colt by Medaglia d’Oro, Den’s Legacy has been ridden in all three of his starts by Rafael Bejarano, who has opted to ride Power Broker. Alonso Quinonez will be aboard for the first time on Saturday.
Carving, owned by world-renowned skier Bode Miller and Baffert’s wife, Jill, broke his maiden for an $80,000 tag at Del Mar Aug. 23 and comes off a 3 ¼ lengths win in the $50,000 C.B. Afflerbaugh Stakes at Fairplex Sept. 12. According to Baffert, he is on the improve and has the benefit of two-turn experience, as his Afflerbaugh win came on a five-eighths-mile oval.
Although still a maiden from three starts, Gary and Mary West’s Power Broker, a $360,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, has two solid turf route efforts to his credit, most recently the $100,000 Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar Sept. 5.
Trainer Jeff Mullins will saddle a pair in the FrontRunner, Oak Tree Juvenile Turf winner Dry Summer and Gabriel Charles, who comes off a troubled sixth place run in the Del Mar Futurity. Joe Talamo had ridden both colts and has opted for “Gabriel.” Rosie Napravnik will ride Dry Summer. Both horses are owned by Britt and House.
John Sadler will saddle Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ highly regarded Capo Bastone, a first-out maiden winner on Aug. 4 who was bet to 3-1 in the Del Mar Futurity, finishing fourth, beaten 2 ¾ lengths.
The complete field for the FrontRunner, which will be run as the seventh race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Carving, Martin Garcia, 122; Gabriel Charles, Joe Talamo, 122; Dirty Swagg, David Flores, 122; The Whole Deal, Edwin Maldonado, 122; Dry Summer, Rosie Napravnik, 122; Imperative, Aaron Gryder, 122; Know More, Garrett Gomez, 122; Capo Bastone, Victor Espinoza, 122; Den’s Legacy, Alonso Quinonez, 122; Power Broker, Rafael Bejarano, 122, and Wild Studen, Iggy Puglisi, 122.
The Jerry Hollendorfer owned and trained City to City could go favored in what appears to be a wide open Rodeo Drive for fillies and mares at 1 ¼ miles on turf—a prep for those hoping to run in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at 1 ½ miles on Nov. 2.
Owned by DeBurgh, Hollendorfer and DeDominico, City to City comes off a second-place finish at odds of 5-2 in the Grade II Yellow Ribbon Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 3. She was a winner of the Grade II John C. Mabee at 1 1/8 miles (turf) on Aug. 12 and has a had a solid year, sporting a 8-2-1-0 mark for 2012. Her career earnings stand at $729,726.
Most effective when she is able to run down fast fractions from well off the pace, City to City should appreciate the added distance of the Rodeo Drive, despite the fact she has been off the board in two lifetime tries at 1 ¼ miles.
Tom Proctor will saddle a pair for the Glen Hill Farm in the Rodeo Drive, Left a Message, a 3-year-old filly by Mr. Greeley and Marketing Mix, a 4-year-old by Medaglia d’Oro.
Marketing Mix has an ultra consistent form to her credit and was most recently second, beaten a head, in the Grade I, 1 3/8 miles (turf) Beverly D. in Chicago. She has a record this year of 5-3-1-0 and career earnings of $1,149,518. She figures to again employ a pace-stalking style on Saturday.
The complete field for the Rodeo Drive, which will be run as the ninth race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Go Forth North, David Flores, 119; Let’s Go Cheyenne, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Stormy Lucy, Martin Pedroza, 116; Left a Message, Brice Blanc, 116; Mi Gi Gi, Victor Espinoza, 116; Cambina, Martin Garcia, 119; Camelia Rose, Mario Gutierrez, 119; Thisismystage, Edwin Maldonado, 119; Vivo Per Lei, Alonso Quinonez, 119; I Dazzle, Patrick Valenzuela, 119; Marketing Mix, Garrett Gomez, 121; City to City, Joe Talamo, 121, and Nereid, Rosie Napravnik, 119.
UNZIP ME FOR FILLIES AND MARES ANCHORS 11-RACE CARD
The $70,000 Unzip Me, anchor-leg in Santa Anita’s all-stakes Pick Six on Saturday, is for 3-year-old fillies at about 6 ½ furlongs down the Camino Real Turf Course and it attracted a field of 12, with two fillies on the also-eligible list.
Trainer Eric Kruljac would appear to be holding a strong two-card hand in the Unzip Me, as he’ll send out Lasso From El Paso and Best Present Ever.
The latter was third two starts back in the Grade I American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 14 and cuts back in distance off a last-place run in the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Del Mar Oaks Aug. 18. She is one for two coming down Santa Anita’s hillside course.
A daughter of Unusual Heat, Best Present Ever is a Dennis and Norine Greiner homebred that has a 8-3-1-2 record and $185,800 in earnings.
Lasso From El Paso, a multiple stakes winner at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Az., is a Florida-bred daughter of Smoke Glacken. She is owned by Kruljac, Lewkowitz and Lewkowitz. She has $120,323 in earnings from a 12-4-2-2 record.
Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally will send out his homebred Charm the Maker in the Unzip Me. A Kentucky-bred filly by Empire Maker, she is owned by McAnally’s wife, Deborah, and has been idle since running fourth in the Grade III Providencia Stakes at Santa Anita on April 7.
Third in the Grade I Oak Leaf as a juvenile and second, beaten a half-length in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet last December, Charm the Maker has a 7-2-1-1 record and career earnings of $223,200. This will be her first start down Santa Anita’s unique hillside layout.
The complete field for the Unzip Me, which will be run as the 11th race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Viva Carina, Victor Espinoza, 118; Coup de Coeur, Edwin Maldonado, 122; Smokin’ Grey, Martin Pedroza, 120, Koko Loca, Juan Hernandez, 118; Charm the Maker, Brice Blanc, 122; Madoffwiththemoney, Alonso Quinonez, 120; Best Present Ever, Garrett Gomez, 122; Byrama, Rafael Bejarano, 122; Lasso From El Paso, Alex Bisono, 120; Killer Graces, Joe Talamo, 122; Wild Truffles, Martin Garcia, 116, and Love Tale, David Flores, 120; Also Eligibles: Starry Skies, Garrett Gomez, 116, and Lemon Hero, Kevin Krigger, 116.
CONTACT: Mike Willman