Game On Dude holds off Clubhouse Ride, takes Classic

Game On Dude won Saturday’s $1.5 million Charles Town Classic by holding off the late stretch runs of Clubhouse Ride and Ron the Greek. His purse winnings were $1 million.

Game On Dude won Saturday’s $1.5 million Charles Town Classic by holding off the late stretch runs of Clubhouse Ride and Ron the Greek. His purse winnings were $1 million.

The 6-year-old gelding, Game On Dude, held off the challenges of Clubhouse Ride and Ron the Greek to claim the million-dollar winner’s share. The Charles Town Classic was the premier event on a 13-race card.

In a change announced by Hollywood Casino, Tuesday, racing officials have changed the official fractions time and final time of the $1.5 million Classic race won by Game on Dude from 1:52.27 to 1:49.93. The new time stands just .07 seconds off the Charles Town Classic stakes record and .17 seconds off the track record for 1 1/8 miles, both held by Researcher.

The time was changed Tuesday following a review by the Charles Town Board of Stewards and Equibase, which concluded that a timing beam was inadvertently tripped by an outrider’s pony. As a result fo the change, the official fractions of the race were recorded as :24.12; :47.43; 1:11.32; 1:37.10 , with a final time of 1:49.93.

In addition to Game on Dude’s win, the evening’s 13-race card produced an all-sources handle figure of $4,398,984, smashing the previous handle record on a single Charles Town card by nearly $1 million. The $332,876 wagered on track also represented a near 25 percent increase over last year’s on-track business. Sent off at odds of .30-to-1, the 6-year-old gelding repelled a challenge from Big ‘Cap runner-up Clubhouse Ride and a late run from multiple Grade I winner Ron the Greek to notch a half-length win in the country’s richest race outside of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup. Game on Dude’s jockey, Mike Smith credited the earner of nearly $5 million but didn’t think the Bob Baffert trainee handled the surface as well as he has others. “He’s just a workhorse. He does everything. He runs over everything,” said the Hall of Fame rider.

“He had a bit of trouble handling the surface today; he was slipping on it especially around the turns. He’s not used to those tighter turns.” Co-owner Joe Torre made the trip in for the race and was pleased but admittedly nervous about the outcome. “My heart was pumping,” said Torre. “It’s a helpless feeling because you can’t do anything about it, just watch. Sort of the same thing when Mariano Rivera goes out to the mound. You put your hands in your pocket and hope for the best.

Prominent jockey Mike Smith traveled to Charles Town to ride Classic favorite Game On Dude.

Prominent jockey Mike Smith traveled
to Charles Town to ride Classic favorite
Game On Dude.

Mike Smith has such a great relationship with Dude. He backed him out. He just wasn’t comfortable and got back in. He’s a terrific jock.” Percussion checked in fourth, while defending champion Caixa Eletronica could only muster a fifth place finish. Isn’t He Perfect filled out the order of finish in sixth place. With a handle record and win by arguably the country’s top handicap horse, the night proved an overwhelming success for the track as well. “What a great horse race and a great night,” said Vice President of Racing Operations Erich Zimny. “We’re thrilled to be able to bring horses of this quality to Charles Town and be able to best our previous handle record by nearly $1 million.” Charles Town’s next event night is slated for September 21, when the track hosts the $400,000 Researcher and $400,000 Charles Town Oaks on its fifth Race for the Ribbon card.


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