The 5-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again, owned by Diamond Pride, Lanni Family Trust or Mercedes Stables, will once again have Chantal Sutherland in the tack as they take on nine rivals in the 1 1.4-mile test that is the seaside track’s richest and most prestigious of its 75th anniversary year.
Sutherland, who already has won five major stakes on the Kentucky-bred, will try for another and in the process attempt to become the first female rider to pull off the Southern California “triple” of the Santa Anita Handicap, the Hollywood Gold Cup and the TVG Pacific Classic
The Santa Anita Handicap was accomplished in 2011, the Hollywood Gold Cup in Game On Dude’s last start, July 7 at Hollywood Park.
Next on the odds board comes two-time Pacific Classic winner Richard’s Kid, who’ll break from post No. 3 under Victor Espinoza. The 7-year-old Lemon Drop Kid horse is listed as a 7-2 shot as he aims for an unprecedented triple of his own with a third Classic tally. Richard’s Kid won his first two runnings – in 2009 and 2010 — of the race for separate owners and now will try for a third this time after being purchased last weekend by a new ownership group headed by Triple B Farms.
The lineup, in post position order with jockeys and morning line odds:
1. Rail Trip, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 10-1; 2. Amani, Garrett Gomez, 5-1; 3. Richard’s Kid, Victor Espinoza, 7-2; 4. Where’s Sterling, Paco Lopez, 15-1; 5. Dullahan, Joel Rosario, 6-1; 6. Akkadian, Martin Garcia, 20-1; 7. Jaycito, Rafael Bejarano, 12-1; 8. Suggestive Boy, Joe Talamo, 5-1; 9. Game On Dude, Chantal Sutherland, 5-2; 10. Riveting Reason, David Flores, 30-1.
Del Mar oddsmaker Russ Hudak said he set the line with the thought that it stacks up as a very open race with several high-quality performers.
“I think Game On Dude is possibly the best horse in the country right now, and he’s been training better over this track than he did last year,” Hudak said. “The two horses from South America (Amani and Suggestive Boy) have shown great promise since they’ve been here.
“Dullahan was beaten less than two lengths in the Kentucky Derby, his wins have been on Polytrack and while he’s taking on older horses for the first time, we’ve had 3-year-olds win this race before.
“It’s great to have 10 horses like these and it looks like it’s going to be a really good race.”
–Del Mar Publicity release
Game on Dude/Benoit photo