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The 59th Running of The Californian (GII) - $150,000

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Published on Jun 2, 2012

In his first start since a forgettable trip to the United Arab Emirates, Game On Dude responded with a record performance in the $147,000 Californian Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.

In front of an on-track crowd that included part owner Joe Torre, the 5-year-old Awesome Again gelding took command from the outset in the Grade II and rolled to a 7 ¼ length win over Kettle Corn and two others.

The margin of victory was the largest in the history of a race that was first run in 1954. The previous best was seven lengths by Old Trieste in 1999.

Defeated by 20 ½ lengths when 12th in the $10 million Dubai World Cup when last seen March 31 at Meydan Race Course, Game On Dude stamped himself the one to defeat in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup July 7. He lost by a nose to stablemate First Dude in the 2011 renewal of the Grade I.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for a partnership that also includes the Lanni Family Trust, Ernie Moody's Mercedes Stable LLC and Bernie Schiappa, Game On Dude, the even-money favorite, won for the seventh time in 17 starts. He increased his bankroll to $2,344,658.

Ridden by Chantal Sutherland, who has been aboard the Kentucky bred in four of his wins, Game On Dude ran the 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track in 1:48.01. The clocking was the fastest in the Californian since Heatseeker went 1:47.06 in 2008.

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