Del Mar, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Game On Dude will take on 10 challengers Sunday in defense of his 2013 victory of the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar.
The 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" event which gives the victor an automatic spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Martin Garcia, Game On Dude will break from post 5 and is the 3-1 second choice in the morning line. Garcia replaces Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard the 7-year-old gelding as Smith will ride undefeated 3-year-old gelding Shared Belief.
"When Shared Belief won the Los Alamitos Derby, as soon as they crossed under the wire I thought, 'Oops, I'm going to need a new jockey,'" Baffert said Tuesday on a national teleconference call. "Mike has been a big part of the (recent) success of Game On Dude. With Mike, we learned some things we didn't know about the horse before.
"I don't blame him for going with the younger gelding."
Partly owned by Joe Torre, Game On Dude will try to snap a two-race losing streak on Sunday. After winning the Santa Anita Handicap, the gelding was second to Imperative in the Charles Town Classic and fourth in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita.
With 16 wins and seven seconds in 33 lifetime starts, Game On Dude has banked $6,438,893.
Baffert is a four-time winner of the race, including twice with Richard's Kid (2009-10).
Shared Belief, last year's champion 2-year-old, is the 5-2 program favorite and has drawn the far outside post with Smith in the saddle for the second consecutive start. The gelding is trained by Hall of Fame member Jerry Hollendorfer, a co-owner of the 3-year-old.
"I think we've done all the things we need to do to be ready," said Hollendorfer.
Shared Belief glided to a 4 1/4-length victory in the Los Alamitos Derby on July 5 for his second start of the season. The Los Alamitos Derby began the $1 million Bolton Challenge. A bonus will be paid to Shared Belief's connections should the gelding also capture the Pacific Classic and $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic.
The Eclipse Award winner missed the Triple Crown races with an injury, but came back with a win in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields on May 26, his first start in more than five months.
Also partly owned by broadcaster Jim Rome, Shared Belief was voted 2013 champion 2-year-old after winning all three races, including the Hollywood Prevue and CashCall Futurity. The 3-year-old has won his five career starts by a combined 29 lengths and has total lifetime earnings of $772,200.
Here is the field for the Classic from the rail out: Frac Daddy, Alan Garcia, 15-1; Irish Surf, Elvis Trujillo, 8-1; Imperative, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1; Ice Cream Truck, Tiago Pereira, 30-1; Game On Dude, Martin Garcia, 3-1; You Know I Know, Edwin Maldonado, 15-1; Majestic Harbor, Tyler Baze, 9-2; Toast of New York, Victor Espinoza, 10-1; Clubhouse Ride, Joe Talamo, 8-1; Mystery Train, Fernando Perez, 20-1 and Shared Belief, Mike Smith, 5-2.
The Pacific Classic has an approximate post time of 8:46 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network.