Game On Dude has yet to shake the stigma of repeatedly coming up short in the Breeders' Cup Classic, but the multiple Grade I winner is well-versed in rebounding from such disappointment.
The 6-year-old gelding will aim to continue that trend in Friday's Grade I, $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.
On the heels of his ninth-place finish as the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Classic this month, Game On Dude was installed as the 8-5 morning-line choice after drawing the rail in a field of nine entered Tuesday for what figures to be a salty edition of the 11⁄8-mile Clark.
While not a total salve for the fact Game On Dude has suffered three consecutive losses in the Breeders' Cup Classic, the Bob Baffert-trainee has won in his first start back after those defeats the past two years.
This year's Clark will be a staunch test of how much the seven-time Grade I winner has left for what will be his seventh start of 2013. Will Take Charge, winner of this year's Grade I Travers, is wheeling back after falling a nose short of Mucho Macho Man in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Fellow Grade I winner Golden Ticket is looming off a second-place run in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
Will Take Charge was made the 9-5 second choice out of post No. 7 as he tries to put the icing on a campaign in which he has emerged as the favorite to be named champion 3-year-old male.
Unlike both Game On Dude and Will Take Charge, Golden Ticket does have a prior win over the Churchill Downs track, taking a 1-mile allowance in May. Graded stakes winner Bourbon Courage ran third in the Clark last season and has hit the board in three of four starts at Churchill.
When: 5:35 p.m. Friday
Where: Churchill Downs
Purse: $500,000 (Grade I)
Distance: 11⁄8 miles
For: 3-year-olds and up
PP Horse Jockey Odds
1 Game On Dude Smith 8-5
2Finnegans WakeLeparoux 20-1
3Bourbon CourageLanerie 8-1
4 Golden Ticket Albarado 9-2
5 Prayer for Relief Santana 12-1
6 Easter Gift Rosario 12-1
7Will Take ChargeSaez 9-5
8Our Double PlayTorres 20-1
9 Jaguar PawBridgmohan20-1
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.