Game On Dude won the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic, holding off Clubhouse Ride on the final turn for a half-length victory Saturday night at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
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Ridden by jockey Mike Smith for trainer Bob Baffert, the 6-year-old Game On Dude tracked the pace set by long-shot Percussion before taking over with a half-mile to go. The winner earned $1 million for a partnership that includes longtime baseball manager Joe Torre.
The winning time was 1:52.27. Ron the Greek finished a nose behind Clubhouse Ride in third. Clubhouse Ride has finished second to Game On Dude in three straight races.
”He’s just a workhorse. He does everything. He’s so straightforward,” said Smith, a Hall of Fame jockey. ”He’s so talented. He runs over everything. He had a bit of trouble handling the surface today. He was slipping on it, especially around the turns. He’s not used to those tighter turns.”
The winner paid $2.60 as the 1-5 favorite.
Percussion was fourth, followed by 2012 Classic winner Caixa Eletronica and Isn’t He Perfect.
”My heart was pumping,” Torre said in the winner’s circle. ”It’s a helpless feeling because you can’t do anything about it, just watch. Sort of the same thing when Mariano Rivera goes out to the mound. You put your hands in your pocket and hope for the best.”