Sutherland piloted Game on Dude to the milestone victory for trainer Bob Baffert. He covered the 1 ¼ miles in 2:04.19 in defeating stablemate Richard’s Kid in the $500,000 fixture.
Game on Dude and Sutherland tracked the early pace of Spud Spivens before taking over command. At the head of the lane, Game on Dude had opened a clear lead while his stablemate Richard’s Kid began a rally from the back of the pack. Game on Dude had plenty in reserve to hold Richard’s Kid at bay and crossed the wire 1 ½ lengths clear of the runner-up.
“I could actually hear Rafael (Bejarano, who rode Richard’s Kid), yell, ‘I’m coming Chantal,’ at the quarter pole,’’ said Sutherland. “We’re friends and it was just like ‘I’m coming to get you,’ like a game of tag.
“(Game On Dude) wanted to go after (Spud Spivens) early and kept fighting and fighting, but then he kind of chilled out a little bit,” Sutherland added. “When he started getting a little pushy about it, I had let him to do his thing. Down the lane, I didn’t want to hit him or push on him, but I was getting a little nervous. It’s exciting (to be the first female to win the Gold Cup). I feel really honored. It’s pretty cool. I hope I’m one of many more to come.’’
Owned by Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride LLC, Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable and Bernie Chiappa, Game on Dude is a gelded son of Awesome Again out of the Devil His Due mare Worldly Pleasure. Game on Dude was sent off as the 2-5 favorite in the 73rd renewal of Hollywood Park’s signature race. He was the shortest price winner of the race since Florida-bred Affirmed in 1979,
With the win, Game on Dude secured a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) as the Gold Cup is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race.
–Chantal Sutherland/Benoit photo