Odds-on favorite Game On Dude successfully defended his crown in Saturday's $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park. The 6-year-old gelding becomes the third horse to win multiple Gold Cups.
The Gold Cup is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race. The victory allows Game On Dude a guaranteed spot in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, Game On Dude took the lead out of the starting gate and never allowed any of his four rivals to seriously challenge.
Coming out of the final turn, Kettle Corn tried to get close but the 3-10 favorite had just too much in reserve. Game On Dude easily turned back the challenge from the 10-1 longshot and posted a one-length victory.
Kettle Corn was second followed by Sky Kingdom, Clubhouse Ride and Oilisblackgold.
Game On Dude stopped the timer at 2:01.88 over Hollywood's synthetic track.
The gelding joins Native Diver and Lava Man as the only horses to win the Gold Cup more than once. Native Diver (1965-1967) and Lava Man (2005-2007) were each three-time winners.
Baffert recorded his fifth Gold Cup victory. He previously won with Congaree (2003), Real Quiet (1999) and First Dude (2011).
"He was coming into this race really, really keen," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "We got everything our own way up front. So, that was really important."
Owned in part by Joe Torre's Diamond Pride Stable, Game On Dude added $300,000 to his bankroll. In 26 career starts, the gelding has won 14 times and banked $5,002,158.
The 6-year-old was coming off a hard fought victory in April in the Charles Town Classic. Game On Dude successfully defended his title in the San Antonio Stakes to begin his 2013 season and notched his second career victory in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2. Clubhouse Ride was second in all three races.
Game On Dude returned $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10. Kettle Corn paid $5.20 and $3.40, and Sky Kingdom paid $3.80 to show.