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Hall Of Fame Jockey Back On 'Dude'
US Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will be reunited with top class galloper Game On Dude when he contest the Gr1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 2, reports bloodhorse.com. Smith piloted Game On Dude to five consecutive graded stakes victories before foregoing the winning mount in the Pacific Classic Stakes at Del Mar to ride champion mare Royal Delta in the Personal Ensign on the same day. "Mike knows the horse really well and he started him out on that run. He hated to give the mount up, but I understand why he had to ride (Royal Delta)," explained Game On Dude's trainer Bob Baffert. "Martin (Garcia) also knows him very well and works with him a lot, and he understood. I was just happy to see him win the Pacific Classic on him. He deserved that." Game On Dude will be out to remedy his poor showing in last year's Classic behind Fort Larned, but Baffert says last year he wasn't the same animal. "Different time, different horse; he's really doing good now (sic)," said Baffert. "He runs so hard and when you have a speed horse who has to do all the running, it's hard to put two outstanding races together, which is why we skipped (the Gr1 Awesome Again) this year. When he comes off the bench he's explosive." Game On Dude, a winner of 15 of his 27 starts including 7 Gr1 victories, is one of the leading fancies for the Breeder's Cup Classic.