Game On Dude, a multiple Grade I winner and narrow loser to stablemate First Dude in last year’s Hollywood Gold Cup, sped seven furlongs Sunday morning at Santa Anita in 1:24 and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is considering the Awesome Again gelding for Saturday’s $150,000 Californian Stakes at 1 1-8 miles on Cushion Track.
Baffert also nominated Prayer for Relief and Richard’s Kid to the Grade II event, but their status is undetermined.
According to track clockers, Game On Dude went the first five furlongs in 1:00 and the last quarter in mile in 24 seconds. He galloped out a mile in 1:37 while in company with 2011 Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude. The drill was the fifth for Game On Dude since he finished 12th of 13 in the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup March 31st.
If Game On Dude starts, the Californian sets up an intriguing match with recent Grade II Mervyn LeRoy winner Morning Line. John Shirreffs has been pointing the millionaire for this race all along and the Tiznow 5-year-old has the recency edge on his main rival.
ACCLAMATION FINE AFTER MILE WORK, GRADE I WHITTINGHAM IN HIS SIGHTS
Don Warren, recovering at home from an infection-induced heart attack, said by telephone Sunday that Acclamation came out of his Friday workout perfectly sound and is on target for the Grade I, $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, Saturday, June 9th.
Acclamation worked a mile on Cushion Track in 1:38 2/5. “I wasn’t able to be there for the drill,” said “but (co-owner and breeder) Buddy Johnston was elated. He’ll work another mile Friday and if everything goes well, he’ll run in the Whittingham.”
Warren indicated he was feeling much better and recent heart tests came back negative.
SCAT DADDY JUVENILE SIZZLES IN DEBUT VICTORY
Trainer Jeff Bonde unveiled a rocket ship disguised as a Thoroughbred in Saturday’s second race at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Amarish, a 2-year-old son of multiple Grade I winner Scat Daddy, took command a few strides out of the gate and set interior fractions of :21 3/5 and :44 3/5 en route to a final time of :50.98 for 4 ½ furlongs, not far off the track record of 50.67. Piloted by Edwin Maldonado, the precocious juvenile reported home 7 3-4 lengths in front of runner-up Manewal.
Bonde was hardly surprised, but seemed relieved by the easy victory. “He’s trained like Superman all meeting,” said the trainer, “but it’s nice to know you actually have the product. That’s the most we’ve ever paid for a gelding.” Owner Jerry Durant purchased the bay for $200,000 at the Ocala Breeders March Juvenile Sale.
Bonde wouldn’t commit to a next start for Amarish, but said the runner could return in the two upcoming juvenile stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park, ($100,000 Willard Proctor Memorial June 16 and $200,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, July 14) “He’s a real nice horse. We’re just going to enjoy the victory.”
CLAIMING FRENZY IN FRIDAY’S SECOND RACE
There was a little horse tradin’ going on in Friday night’s second race at Betfair Hollywood Park, a $12,500 claimer for fillies and mares. A total of 17 claims were dropped, seven for Lil Miss Macky and 10 for Miss Oops.
Trainer Mark Glatt won the shake for Lil Miss Macky, a 4-year-old daughter of Grey Memo, who finished second as the $1.10-1 favorite. Her new owner is Marshall Kenny.
Miss Oops, coming off a daylight victory earlier in the meeting, finished fifth and went to Jeff Mullins for owner Mark Tatch.
Ironically, the winner, Folk Dancer, was not claimed and returned to the barn of Vladimir Cerin.
CLOSING STRIDES— The disqualification of Living Our Dream in the second race Sunday was the first of the Spring/Summer meet from the first, second or third position. Living Our Dream was placed second and favored You’llalwaysbemine, who had crossed the finish line a nose back, was declared the official winner…. Doug O’Neill, who published the “Top Five Perks after Winning the Kentucky Derby” on his “O’Neill Barn Buzz” web blog two weeks ago, is back with a new list. Friday, the trainer posted the “Top Five Cool Perks Experienced After Winning the First Two Legs of the Triple Crown.” 5) Free peanuts on all Southwest Airline flights. 4) The chance of taking over Zach Galifianakis’ part in Hangover 3. 3) A free beard trim at the local barber with the purchase of hair plugs. 2) Your picture on the wall of every female jockey room across America. 1) A free program with paid entrance to the track…..A reminder there will be a special Memorial Day card Monday with first post at 1 p.m….Veterans and active duty personnel – with military identification – will receive free general admission. Following a two-day break, racing resumes Thursday with all fans in attendance offered free box seat upgrades.………Wilkinson, upset winner of Saturday’s American Handicap, came back “great,” according to Jeff Mullins, and will be pointed to the Grade I, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile June 30th. Mr. Commons and Liberian Freighter, the two-three finishers, returned well and are also being aimed for the Shoemaker ……. Joe Talamo doubled Saturday, tightening up the rider standings. Through 19 days, Rafael Bejarano had a 22-20 advantage over Talamo. Apprentice Eswan Flores picked up a victory Saturday, placing him third with 13 wins. Bob Baffert has a commanding 14-7 lead over John Sadler in the trainer standings. Mike Mitchell and Peter Miller are tied for third with six victories……Entering Sunday, the number of players still alive in the Show Me the Money Contest has been whittled to 13.
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