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Battle of Six-Year-Olds Highlight Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday

gameondude_1.jpg
Game On Dude and jockey Mike Smith cruise to an easy victory in the Grade II, $200,000 San Antonio Stakes, Sunday, February 3, 2013 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA. (Benoit Photography/used with permission)
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It's no longer the "Hundred-Grander". Back in 1935 when the race was first held that was a staggering amount of money. Almost 80 years later, the ten-furlong Grade I Santa Anita Handicap now boasts a purse of $750,000 for the four-year olds and up.

The 2013 edition of the race features some drama. The last two winners of the Big 'Cap, Bob Baffert's Game on Dude and Bill Mott's Ron the Greek both six-year olds, will be facing off on Saturday.

Game On Dude's exploits has been chronicled here from his win in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes last September and his disappointing seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November. Another jockey switch was made, and Mike Smith has ridden the 2011 Big 'Cap winner Game On Dude to victories in the Grade III Native Diver Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in December and the Grade II San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita in February. While the value isn't great with Game On Dude, you can bet on who co-owner Joe Torre is rooting for.

Meanwhile last year's winner Ron the Greek is coming off of a win in the Sunshine Millions Classic in Florida in January, a rebound from the fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

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"He's doing very well," Rudolph Brisset, assistant to trainer Mott, said of Ron the Greek. "He is doing as good as he was last year, but this year it is a very different race."

"I think he's better than he was two years ago," Baffert said about his horse Game On Dude.

The tenth race of the 11-race card highlights a day which also includes the $75,000 Baffle Stakes, the $300,000 Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile and the $250,000 Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes. Fans will receive a Santa Anita tote bag, and a family fun zone will be set up in the infield including a jumper, carnival games, face painting and pony rides.

Post time for the first race is at 12:00 noon.