Game On Dude is overrated. He is so overrated. I have thought so for a long time. I have thought so after all of his wins. I have thought so after all of his wins. He's a talented horse. He's just not as fantastic as a lot of people think he is.
"You're an idiot, Doug. He's won half of his races and made well over $6,000,000."
Be that as it may, I've always looked at horses like this: it's not what they win or lose, it's how they win or lose it. Game On Dude wins when things go totally his way, and loses whenever something goes wrong.
Look at Game On Dude's last win in the Santa Anita Handicap. After Hear the Ghost got send wide and lost ground around he first turn, the Dude got clear and was never pressured. Everyone knows that a horse who gets a clear lead is going to be dangerous, lone speed is the best trip in horse racing. Game On Dude is a talented enough horse that when he's clear he doesn't get passed, even when good horses are trying to close on him, and for that I respect him a lot. He also has the ability to sit behind a cheap speed leader and overtake him, but a horse as good as him should be able to do that.
When he gets pressured on the lead, he can't take it. Look at the Charles Town Classic, the San Antonio, the Clark, the Breeder's Cup. He's not gutsy enough to keep fighting. In my opinion, the Clark was his most impressive race in a long time, all of his wins included. He took some pressure and still fought back. Will Take Charge was just a bit better, but Dude was really game. In his other recent losses, I'm not willing to forgive him. If he was as great as he's cracked up to be, he would be able to put away opposing speed runners (who usually aren't Grade 1 quality horses) and fight back. But he caves.
In my opinion, true greatness is a horse who can fight when a race doesn't set up exactly how he needs it and still wins. When Game On Dude gets his way, which he usually does, he can beat almost anybody. I respect that. Based on raw talent, he's certainly one of the best horses racing. I'm not going to take that away from him. But in order for me to be able to acknowledge him as one of the truly greatest horses of our time, a horse I will rave about when I look back, I need to see a bit more fight from him. I'm tired of seeing him fail to overcome anything that isn't completely ideal for him.
Finally, Game On Dude does represent one thing that I absolutely love in racing: the veteran. He's seven years old, he's still racing, his fans love him and he gets a lot of people excited when he races. I would love to see more of that.
You either love Game On Dude or you don't. I certainly don't hate him. I'm not in love with him like a lot of people are. I think he's overrated. What he does is great, how he does it isn't. I don't think he'll do anything in the future to change my opinion. Maybe he will. Maybe my standards are too high. Regardless of how you feel about Game On Dude, thanks for reading.