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Awesome Gem Favored in Longacres Mile

August 14, 2009 · By · Share West Point Thoroughbreds' veteran campaigner Awesome Gem will take on 11 rivals this Sunday in the $300,000 Longacres Mile (gr. III) at Emerald Downs in Washington. He is coming off a strong second place finish in the Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT) at Del Mar on July 25.

The six-year-old gelding by Awesome Again has built a strong resume in his 27 race career. He has had several near misses, being second 10 times. His list of accomplishments includes a win in the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II), and placings in the Pacific Classic, Goodwood, and Breeder's Cup Classic. His last win was in an allowance race on June 27 at Hollywood Park. The Longacres looks to be an ideal spot to fetch Awesome Gem's second win of the year.

"The Breeders' Cup is the ultimate goal," trainer Craig Dollase said from Del Mar, where Awesome Gem worked four furlongs Sunday in preparation for the trip north Thursday morning. "And that's the beauty of this horse, his versatility."

West Point Thoroughbreds President Terry Finley said, "Awesome Gem can run on any surface at almost any distance. He hasn't been on the dirt since the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic, but he ran well on the surface early in the career. This looks like a very good spot for him. On paper it appears that there will be plenty of pace to run at, and Awesome Gem loves to have targets in front of him. The Longacres Mile has always been one of the best races on the West Coast, and it's even more attractive now because it is a Breeders' Cup Challenge race. We ran third here last year with Tropic Storm, and it's a great opportunity for us to try and secure a spot in at least one Breeders' Cup race. We will keep all our options open, but winning this race would open a few more doors for us."

Awesome Gem has earned over $1.3 million in his career. On Sunday he will break from post 7 with Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze aboard. He is co-highweight at 122 pounds. There looks to be a favorable pace scenario developing in the race, and the black and gold should be flying late.

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