Trainer Bob Baffert had debated whether to ship Game On Dude to Dubai or stay home and run in Saturday's $750,000, Grade I Santa Anita Handicap. Asked Wednesday about his intentions for the 'Big Cap,' Baffert said, "He's not running. He's going to Dubai."
Game On Dude, a 5-year-old Awesome Again gelding, won the Santa Anita Handicap last year en route to a close second-place finish behind Drosselmeyer in the Breeders' Cup.
Baffert has saddled the winner of the World Cup twice -- Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001. He lamented earlier this year that it is harder for American horses to compete in Dubai since the World Cup program was shifted in 2010 from the old dirt track at Nad al-Sheba to the artificial Tapeta surface at the plush new Meydan race course.
Baffert did not specify who will ride Game On Dude in the World Cup. However, his regular rider in the United States -- including the Classic -- has been Chantal Sutherland. Should she be named on Game on Dude for the World Cup, she would be the first female rider in that race.
Three other jockeys have ridden in Dubai, however, and the Medan facility includes a female jockey room.