Rare Gem: Awesome Gem Ready for Pacific Classic(G1)
Sometimes the sequel is better than the original, and sometimes you just don't want a story to end. Both will be true on Saturday as Awesome Gem will step into the starting gate for the fourth straight year in the $1,000,000 Pacific Classic(G1) at Del Mar. The only horse ever to accomplish this feat. A milestone that most thought would never come.
Many believed that the 2007 edition of Awesome Gem would be the best that this gutsy gelding had to offer. I mean, let's face it. He was a four-year-old and in the prime of his career. He was beaten a half-length in the Pacific Classic then followed that up with a gut-wrenching second in the Grade 1 Goodwood before running a huge third to Curlin in the Breeders' Cup Classic(G1). A great story, for sure.
However, this story had a few more chapters to be written. Awesome Gem failed to find the winner's circle in 2008. What can you say? He'd gotten another year older. He would go down as a nice horse that came close in so many races. End of story, right?
Not so fast. The summer of 2009 yielded an allowance win. Not exactly the stuff of legend, but a nice feeling after nearly a two-year drought. Then the pattern looked like it would repeat itself. A hard-luck second in the Grade 1 Eddie Read was followed by a third straight trip to the Pacific Classic. A trip to the "Heartland of America" found Awesome Gem skipping over the slop en route to a win in the Hawthorne Gold Cup(G2). The win was Awesome Gem's first graded stakes score in 30 months and earned him a third straight trip to the Breeders' Cup. A fitting way for his career to end.
For most horses, yes. However, this is the "old warrior" we are talking about. Why stick to the script now? There was still one piece of unfinished business. Awesome Gem had one blank spot on his resume. A Grade 1 win was all that eluded him.
At age seven, Awesome Gem was ready to make his mark. After toiling in the shadow of some of his peers, it was his time. Fairy tale endings are possible. Right?
On July 10th, 2010, the horse that everyone thought was just good enough to be second proved that he was more than second fiddle. He was the leading man. Using a bold rail move, Awesome Gem surged to victory in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup to take care of that "unfinished business".
He's been called many things, "Rocky Balboa", "Senior-Set Superstar" and "Precious Gem". Nobody has ever run in four consecutive Pacific Classics. Nobody ever said Awesome Gem was good about sticking with the story. He much prefers to write his own. How does this story end?
To be continued...
We invite you to follow Awesome Gem in his historic race on Saturday. Watch the race on TVG or if you are an account holder with TVG you can watch at TVG.com. You can also watch live online for free at NTRA Live! To watch on the NTRA site all you need to do is register for a free NTRA inside track account. To register click here and be ready for Saturday's big race.
Can't wait for Saturday? Experience the excitement of the Hollywood Gold Cup again.