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Awesome Again Stakes

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 9/25/2014 10:03:23 PM

About the Race and Track

They say good things come in small packages handicappers will be treated to such as this year’s Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita has drawn a field of 8 including the juvenile champ last year.

The race carried the name Goodwood for years but was changed to the Awesome Again in 2012. Stars like Lord at War, Ferdinand, Bertrando, Silver Charm, Bertrando, Lava Man and Game on Dude has won this race over the decades.

Last year Mucho Macho Man showed what an important prep it came be as that runner won this race with a 110 Beyer and than came back just over a month later to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic with a 112 Beyer.

A Longshot With Some Value: Majestic Harbor

This veteran loves Santa Anita, has enough speed to maintain contact and could shock if the leaders wilt.

The Pick: Shared Belief (He is just too good not to beat this group)

From the rail out: Fed Biz is a Grade 2 winner at Santa Anita and he is coming to this race fairly fresh. He won his 2014 debut beating Footbridge by extending in the drive. He may not have adored the rail in his last race when he cut back in distance to 7 furlongs. Since that effort, this over $700,000 earner has trained fast for this including a 1:11 3/5 drill on 9/21. He is versatile and dangerous.

Sky Kingdom is one of 2 trained by Bob Baffert, including the rail. He won a cheaper stakes in July at Los Al, but was losing ground in the drive the other time in Grade 1 company. The veteran has won for today’s rider Victor Espinoza and the 9-furlong distance is well within his scope. With his style, he will be in the picture late if at all.

Bird E House has not raced since June when easily beating optional foes at Gulfstream Park. He has trained solidly since coming to California, seems to have taken to the Santa Anita track and has a right to get the distance as his sire won the Belmont Stakes. Racer gets the acid test and may need the race of his life to get unsaddled today.

Shared Belief has expertly managed as his 6 for 6 records shows. He can win on the lead, from a stalking position, or from mid-pack as he demonstrated last time beating older horses in the Pacific Classic. In his other race on dirt, the son of Candy Ride won going away by over 4 lengths. He has drilled solidly since and is clearly the one to beat.

Footbridge has been freshened since running a surprising 25-1 second to today’s rival Fed Biz in the San Diego Handicap on July 16. The colt has much more speed than he just showed. He is proven repeatedly at Santa Anita, was hung 4 wide in his last comeback attempt and with his stalk and pounce style, he should get first run on the deep closers.

Majestic Harbor never fired in the Pacific Classic last time but he may have just disliked the synthetic surface at Del Mar. This 9-furlong distance is well within his range, he figures to sit a nice stalk and kick trip maybe sitting 6 or 7 lengths off a legit pace. If he can repeat his winning performance in the Gold Cup in June, he will be a handful.

Mystery Train made his U.S debut last time in the Pacific Classic as a bit of a mystery horse after a successful career in Argentina. He was a Group 1 winner in his native land but had his head handed to him last time when just a brief threat. It can take time for these S. Americans to acclimate and he will need a total reversal of fortune.

Imperative showed he belongs in this league when he beat Game On Dude at Charles Town in the spring. He is 0 for 3 since and has chased some of today’s rivals. Since he has never won at Santa Anita and since he has limited speed while hung outside, he will be at the mercy of how the race sets up and if he gets a lane to rally into in time.



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