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Game Winner Pulls Away to Victory in G1 American Pharoah Stakes

by Santa Anita Park Press Release

September 29, 2018

Game Winner pulled away in the stretch to win the $300,000 American Pharoah by 4 1/2 lengths and earn an automatic berth in the BC Juvenile.

The 2-year-old colt trained by Baffert ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.77. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite, Game Winner returned $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10.

Gunmetal Gray returned $2.80 and $2.10, while Rowayton was another length back in third and paid $2.10 to show. Both are trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.

Ridden for the first time by Rosario, Game Winner improved to 3-0 in his young career. The colt was coming off a victory in the Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3, when he beat Rowayton by 1 1/2 lengths and heavily favored stablemate Roadster by 2 lengths.

Roadster has been regarded as Baffert’s top 2-year-old. However, Game Winner is quickly making a name for himself. He won his career debut by 5 3/4 lengths Aug. 18 at Del Mar and came back 16 days later to score the Futurity upset.

“This horse tipped us off this summer that he was going to be a good one,” Baffert said. “I don’t plan to do too much with him before Breeders’ Cup.”

Game Winner dueled outside Rowayton before taking a short lead into the stretch. He then inched away under urging by Rosario past the eighth pole and pulled away from Gunmetal Gray.

It was Baffert’s eighth career victory in the race previously known as the Norfolk and the FrontRunner Stakes, and renamed this year for his 2015 Triple Crown winner.

“Pretty cool and nice of Santa Anita to name a race after him,” Baffert said.

The BC Juvenile will be run Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.