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Racing at Betfair Hollywood Park. (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

The cityscape was a welcome break to the monotonous desert that I had watched during our flight to Los Angles for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park. A simple oval of brown and green interrupted the city layout. “Look!” I exclaimed to my mom. “That must be Hollywood Park!”  A stop by the decades-old track wasn’t in our plans on this trip, but I promised myself someday I would visit Hollywood Park. It had been struggling through hard times, yet I never truly believed it was going to shut down in the very near future. Therefore, I was rather astonished when the news broke that the track’s 75th anniversary meeting would be its last. Its book, which had started off with the greats such as Seabiscuit and Citation, would close with its most recent star, Game On Dude. It would be especially poignant to witness the 74th Hollywood Gold Cup with Game on Dude winning its final renewal on July 6.

Game On Dude crossed the wire triumphant in last year’s Hollywood Gold Cup with a 1 ½-length score over Richard’s Kid, to whom he had given a four-pound advantage as the highweight.  Next time out, however, he would suffer a sound defeat to 3-year-old Dullahan in the TVG Pacific Classic Stakes. Game On Dude rebounded to take Super Saturday’s Awesome Again Stakes by 3 ¼ lengths. It was the first year this race was run as the Awesome Again Stakes – coincidently, named after the sire of Game On Dude.

It was in his most important race of 2012 that Game On Dude would find misfortune. After a bad start, Game On Dude would finish a well-beaten seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. With Mike Smith aboard for the first time, he bounced back to win the Native Diver Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths to close his year. 

Game On Dude’s season debut in the San Antonio Stakes made it clear that he would be a winning force at the age of six. The gelding passed the finish line 6 ½ lengths ahead of the closest of three opponents, each of whom carried five fewer pounds.  In his subsequent start, he won the Santa Anita Handicap for the second time in his career, prevailing by 7 ¾ lengths after setting the pace. He crossed the wire in a quick 2:00.14 for 1 ¼ miles. 

GAME ON DUDE WINNING 2013 SANTA ANITA HANDICAPGo DBig Cap

Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire 

Game On Dude comes into this year’s renewal of the Hollywood Gold Cup off a win in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic Stakes. He bettered Clubhouse Ride by a half-length with Ron the Greek another nose back in third. The three finished 7 ½ lengths ahead of the fourth-place finisher.

Game On Dude has an opportunity to lay to rest the final Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in the annals of horse racing history with the grand ceremony it deserves. I will watch with a heavy heart because I never made a pilgrimage to the historic track, but will forever tip my cap to all who have and all who have made their mark in history by touching their hooves to the ground that will be forever remembered as “Hollywood Park.”

GAME ON DUDE WINNING 2012 HOLLYWOOD GOLD CUP

Dude Holly GC12

Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire 


Image Description

Bunny Hinzman

Bunny Hinzman is a journalist for International Racehorse Magazine.  
Her work has appeared in Illinois Racing News Magazine and Keeneland Magazine.  She also authors Bits N' Bunny, covering various aspects of Thoroughbred horse racing.  Bunny's article, "The Lasix Legacy", received a final nomination and Honorable Mention from Team Valor International's 2012 Stanley Bergstein Award.

Image Description

Bunny Hinzman

Bunny Hinzman is a journalist for International Racehorse Magazine.  
Her work has appeared in Illinois Racing News Magazine and Keeneland Magazine.  She also authors Bits N' Bunny, covering various aspects of Thoroughbred horse racing.  Bunny's article, "The Lasix Legacy", received a final nomination and Honorable Mention from Team Valor International's 2012 Stanley Bergstein Award.

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