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Baffert, Mott like Classic chances

BC Classic favorite Game On Dude was a course and distance winner of the Santa Anita Handicap in March (Benoit Photos)

Game On Dude, the 8-5 morning line favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic, walked the Bob Baffert shedrow Tuesday morning after his :59 five-furlong work Monday at Santa Anita.

"He's doing good," Baffert said. "He needs to do something big. Here he's won more than $5 million, but he's never won a Eclipse championship, even though he's that kind of horse. He needs to win this Classic to make that special statement. And I think he can do it.

"He's a different horse this year. By not running him too much, I've kept him good. He couldn't be doing any better. He drew a good post (9) and if he gets a good break and gets in that high cruising speed of his, he can do it. I'm feeling it this year."

Baffert noted that he has cameras throughout his barn for security purposes, including a special one in Game On Dude's stall. He said he could watch him on his cell phone anytime he wanted. In that light the trainer took the opportunity to gig one of Game On Dude's owners, the high-spirited and high-strung Bernie Schiappa, one of Baffert's favorite foils.

"I know the horse is OK, but I'm a little worried about Bernie," he said. "I found him sleeping in his sleeping bag outside Game On Dude's stall."

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott's veterans, Ron the Greek and Flat Out, went to the track Tuesday morning. Ron the Greek, winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, jogged once around the track, while Flat Out, who was third in the Gold Cup, jogged.

In 2012, Flat Out finished third in the Classic, three-quarters of a length in front of Ron the Greek.

"They're coming into this as well as they did last year," Mott said. "Ron the Greek just ran a spectacular race the last time. I've said several times that I don't think there was a horse in the country that was going to beat him in the Jockey Club Gold Cup the last time he ran. He ran as good as any horse could run and it was the fastest Gold Cup in 11 years. He just left them all for dead when they turned for home.

"I can't tell you if he's going to repeat that race. He always shows up and he always gives us a good race. Out of the last 21 races he has been 1-2-3-4 in 20 of them. He always shows up, he gives you a good effort and he's a horse that if he feels like it leaving the gate he could run a big one."

Mott said that Flat Out has been almost as dependable. The seven-year-old horse has banked over $3 million in his career.

"I think he's sitting on a big race," Mott said. "He didn't run his very best race in the Gold Cup, which means maybe he'll come back. Horses don't always seem to run their A-plus race back-to-back-to-back. If Cigar didn't run his A-race he was still able to win, just running maybe his B race.

"Both horses seem to be going good, but I would guess maybe just in the sequence of the way things have gone, that maybe Flat Out is the one sitting on a big race."

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