Awesome Again Stakes (Grade 1) (BC)- $300.000 Purse
SA- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
September 30, 2023
The biggest race of the day at SA was the running of the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes, with plenty at stake but nothing bigger than the ticket to the BC Classic that is awarded to the winner. More than likely, Hiei would have already been here in one month’s time for that race, but following his struggle in the Travers, he needed a good race. We could dismiss that race due to the sloppy track at SAR that day, and it is a good thing that Hiei was here and not at AQU today, as well. On a fast track, we were able to see those talents that made Hiei a BEL and Haskell winner, with more on the way. Hiei was among our picks, but not listed on top. He is trained by Fractious, and was ridden by M Franco, for each, it is their first win in the race. Congratulations to them! The time of the win was 1:47.67, which is among the better winning times for the race. Let’s take a look at it!
(1/2 Mile- :47.02)- Prevent would break the quickest out of the gate, for Mb Stables, but as we make our way to the opening turn, it will be TwinTowersRacing’s Eight West Party moving into the top spot from his outside post. Prevent holds second and is within a length while Ten Nations and Lord Cherokee, respectively out of Alydar Stables and Arindel, stalk the leaders. Sitting just off the lead are two others by those same trainers: All Take (Alydar Stables) and Gorogue Laga (Arindel). Our eventual winner from Fractious, Hiei, runs seventh, and he had actually half-length pretty well out of the gate before opting not too pushing self too hard and settling into this midpack position. It’s a length to Stormy Liberal (Big Guns Stables) and then about two more to Home Spirit (Night Rider Stables) and Hard To Forgive (D J C Racing Stables). Trailing is Walk Naked (Riggins Racing).
(3/4 Mile- 1:11.00)- Not much changes over the next two furlongs, as all of our horses are content to hold their positions. So, it’s still Eight West Party out in front, with Prevent within a half-length to his inside. Hiei has made one pass, moving into sixth by passing fellow TC race winner Gorogue Laga, and is about two and a half lengths from the lead. Let’s move forward in the race since very little has changed.
(Top of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- Around the turn, and moving into the stretch, Eight West Party continues to lead the way, but it was certainly not a comfortable advantage. Prevent was still right beside him, being his shadow to the inside while both Ten Nations and Lord Cherokee were making their own bids and were now just length back. Hiei was now up to fifth, and closing but the bigger question with him is where around and be, as there did not seem to be a clear path for him at this point. All Take was hanging around and was to his outside and Gorogue Laga held the rail. Stormy Liberal was next and trying to stay with the pack. Time was running out for the others.
(Finish- 1:47.67)- With a furlong to go, Eight West Party held the lead still, and perhaps he would be able to hold on. He also showed that he was a very courteous horse and moved over a lane to all of the sudden open up a lane for Hiei to come through. Hiei would take advantage of this, and hopefully jockey M Franco expressed his gratitude to T Gaffalione, the rider of Eight West Party for allowing him to have this lane as he went by. The jockeys and horses would be side by side all the wire, and we would end up with a race that was too close to call, and a photo finish. The head bob would go to Hiei over Eight West Party, but there were many others very close. Lord Cherokee takes third, narrowly over Ten Nations, Stormy Liberal, All Take, Prevent, and Home Spirit. All of them were just a half-length off of Hiei. Gorogue Laga, Hard To Forgive, and Walk Naked.
About The Winner- Hiei, trained by Fractious and ridden to victory by M Franco, is a three-year-old gelding by Liberty Valance and is out of Third Eye. He was bred in New York by Patterson Stables as a second quarter two-year-old and was acquired by Fractious for $40.000 in a May 2022 private sale while he was still unraced. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his sixth in 12 starts, and his fourth stake win, all of which are graded. His career earnings are now $1,992.400.
Time: :47 1:11 1:351 1:473
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 5 – 12 Paid 134.00
$1 Trifecta: 5 – 12 – 7 Paid 172.20
Scratched: Starving Artist
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES