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Game on Dude, Baffert, Bejarano in Santa Anita Spotlight

game on dude
Bob Baffert and Rafael Bejarano teamed up to win three of the five Grade 1 races at Santa Anita on Saturday.

In the Awesome Again Stakes (G1), the centerpiece event, Game on Dude won the race by 3 ¼ lengths under Bejarano and earned an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 3. The jockey and trainer also combined to win with Power Broker in the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) and Executiveprivilege in the Chandelier Stakes (G1).

“I was hoping for this kind of outcome,” Baffert said. “They were all coming into their races really well. We still have a ways to go, and as long as they all stay healthy and keep moving forward, that’s the main goal.”

Game on Dude improved to 5-0 at Santa Anita, his home track. Chantal Sutherland was replaced in the saddle on Saturday by Bejarano. Game On Dude ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.98 as the 1-5 favorite in the race named for his sire The gelding is co-owned by retired baseball manager Joe Torre.

“The break was really important for him,” Baffert said. “Sometimes he wants to get a little edgy in the gate, but he broke really well. Plan A was if he breaks well, don’t move on him. He found a seam right away and got him to the outside. They slowed it down, so he just sat there and waited, then asked him to run in the stretch. It was the prep that you want for a horse like this.”

In the other Grade 1 stakes: Executiveprivilege improved to 5-0 with a 6 1/4-length victory in the Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, securing a spot in the BC Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 2.Ridden by Bejarano, Executiveprivilege led all the way in running 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.95 while trying two turns for the first time. She paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10 for Baffert and his longtime clients, Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman. It was Baffert’s eighth win in the race, previously run as the Oak Leaf Stakes.

Power Broker won for the first time in four starts, surging through the stretch under Bejarano to capture the FrontRunner Stakes for 2-year-olds by 6 1/2 lengths.

He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.44 and paid $12.60, $6.20 and $4 at 9-2 odds for Baffert. Power Broker earned a spot in the BC Juvenile on Nov. 3. Know More, the 8-5 favorite running on dirt for the first time, finished second for O’Neill.

Love and Pride won the Zenyatta Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher, who shipped the filly in from New York to get familiar with Santa Anita before the Breeders’ Cup.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Love and Pride ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.09 and paid $10.20, $5.20 and $4.

Marketing Mix and Garrett Gomez won the Rodeo Drive Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths on the turf for trainer Tom Proctor. The 4-year-old filly covered 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.20 and paid $4, $2.80 and $2.40 as the even-money favorite.

Game on Dude/Benoit photo