OwnerGary and Mary West
BreederSummer Wind Equine
SireCandy Ride (ARG)
Game Winner has a fitting name, having done exactly that in his first two starts.
In his racing debut on August 18 at Del Mar, he performed like a seasoned veteran. Leaving from the outside post, he was hung four-wide, started advancing on the far turn and drew off to win by nearly six lengths in the six-furlong maiden race.
Hall of Fame and two-time Triple Crown winning trainer Bob Baffart tossed him right in the deep end next out, putting him in Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. Breaking from the outside again, he raced near the back of the pack then advanced with stablemate Roadster at the half-mile mark. The bay colt kicked past pacesetter Rowayton, winning by a length and a half this time.
“Going down the backside that other horse (Rowayton) was way out there and sometimes if you get out there like that you can steal a race,” Baffert said. “I just hoped my guys knew they were in good spots. I knew they’d have to sprint home. I knew coming in that [Game Winner] was coming back a little quick, but he’s a big strong heavy horse and I knew he could handle it. I’d rather run him again than keep working him.”
"(Baffert) told me, 'You know how to ride good horses. Go ahead and ride him like you can,'" rider Mario Gutierrez said. "He said he wanted me to give him a
little help out of the gate, then he said he thought he'd be strong for the finish. He was so right."
Game Winner's score in the Del Mar Futurity gave Baffert his 14th victory in the stakes.
The freshman son of Candy Ride was a $100,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Gary and Mary West, who teamed with Baffert to win the 2013 Sentient Jet Juvenile with New Year’s Day.