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December 26, 2006 · By · Share Running off a two month layoff, facing stakes competition for the first time, and running on perhaps his lesser surface, Awesome Gem ran a monster second second beaten only a length in the Sir Beaufort Stakes(G3) on December 26th at Santa Anita.  The only thing that could trip up Awesome Gem was traffic troubles, and even then he almost overcame it all to score at 24/1.  Awesome Gem broke well and settled toward the rear of the pack on the outside through the first half-mile.  Awesome Gem found a comfortable stride down the backstretch and then began to quicken stride with about three furlongs to go.  He then got boxed in on the inside and jockey Tyler Baze had to switch him out between foes inside the eighth pole.  When Awesome Gem found room he came running hard to get up for second.  To put his stretch run into perspective, Awesome Gem was ninth with a quarter-mile to run and finished beaten only a length.

Craig Dollase said, "What a race.  This horse is just getting better and better.  We're coming off a two month layoff and trying really good horses.  That's a huge test.  I knew he was training very well, but he probably wasn't even as tight as he could be.  Then, he gets caught in some traffic and loses some momentum down the backstretch and gets in tight in the stretch.  I thought this was the right spot for this horse because he's got such an explosive kick, and his running style fitS well in race like this.  Our goal has always been the last two legs of the Strub Series, but this race was a test to see where we stood with nothing to lose.  Now, we're going to have so many options open to us going forward that we couldn't be in a much better position.  We'll head into the next race with a fresh horse, and we'll have the turf to dirt angle working for us as well.  If he comes out of the race well, then we'll be all set for a big winter."

Tyler Baze said, "I felt like I almost clipped heels about sixteen times during the race, and I had to check pretty hard one time at a crucial point.  This horse is explosive.  He gave me a real burst, and he went through the hole when I asked him.  I thought we were going to get there.  He can run."

Awesome Gem earned $22,860 for his effort bringing his career total up to an impressive $98,960. He will now point for the $200,000 San Frenando Stakes(G2) on January 13th at Santa Anita.

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