Awesome Gem Impressive in Victory
Six-Year-Old Returns to Winner's Circle
It had been almost two years to the day since Awesome Gem had been led into the winner's circle. Sure, there had been impressive efforts and tough beats along the way and nobody was complaining about what Gem had accomplished, but the fact remained. Saturday afternoon at Hollywood Park all that changed as the millionaire had his picture taken after an impressive win in an allowance race on the turf.
"It was great to see him get a victory," said trainer Craig Dollase. "We wanted to build up some confidence in him before the Gold Cup, and I think we did just that."
Dollase was referring to what is expected to be Awesome Gem's next start. The G1 $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11th.
Awesome Gem broke well under jockey Alex Solis, and was immediately guided over to the rail. He was not in last early on, as has been the case during most of his career efforts, Solis had him about three lengths off the lead after a half-mile in :47.4.
"He's had too much to do in some of his recent races, and hasn't been able to get there in time" said Solis, who was aboard Gem for the third consecutive time. "Craig (Dollase) and I discussed it before the race, and we both thought maybe we'd have him a little closer than usual."
Their plan worked perfectly, as Awesome Gem ranged up as they turned for home and inhaled the front-runners. He flashed that eye-popping turn-of-foot and took control inside the sixteenth pole for the win. The final time for the mile-and-a-sixteenth race on the turf was 1:40.3.
"I'm proud of him. I really am," said Dollase. "Alex did a great job with him, and we got exactly what we wanted."
For the win, the six-year-old son of Awesome Again earned $34,800. His career earnings now stand at over $1.28 million dollars.
"If he checks out okay, it's on to the Gold Cup," said a thrilled Dollase.