Belmont might be 'Battle of the Dudes'

Baffert says he'll likely send Game on Dude to third leg of Triple Crown

May 16, 2010|By Baltimore Sun reporter

After First Dude's runner-up finish to Lookin At Lucky in Saturday's 135th Preakness Stakes, he'll be looking to move up a notch at the Belmont Stakes on June 5.

First Dude won't have to face Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver or Lookin At Lucky, who won't be running in the Belmont. However, he will likely have to run against another Bob Baffert-trained horse in the Belmont, Game on Dude, winner of the Lone Star Derby.

Baffert, who won his fifth Preakness Stakes on Saturday, said this morning at Pimlico Race Course that it would be a "Battle of the Dudes."

Dale Romans, trainer of First Dude, who was shipped back to his Churchill Downs base early this morning, said his colt came out of the Preakness in good shape and should like the Belmont distance.

"I think he's going to move forward again," he said. "The mile and a half suits him and we're excited to go up there."

Although Game on Dude will be a competitor, Romans noted that among the horses First Dude will likely meet in the final leg of the Triple Crown is Fly Down, who beat him by a head and a half-length in two meetings.

"It'll be the third time," said Romans of the growing rivalry with the stablemate of Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box. "Maybe the third time's the charm and we'll catch him."

Even without the Derby and Preakness winners, Romans said the Belmont Stakes is still special.

"I think it's a great race to win regardless. I think it's going to end up being a pretty good field of horses," he said. "With horses like Ice Box, Fly Down and my horse, it'll be a good race."

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