Awesome Gem Favored in Breeders' Cup Marathon
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Click here to read a DRF article about our veteran.
West Point’s multiple graded stakes winner and veteran campaigner Awesome Gem is set to start in his fourth straight Breeders' Cup on Friday when he takes on 11 challengers in the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon (gr. III). He has been installed the 7/2 morning line favorite. We give credit to our team and trainer Craig Dollase for managing this horse very well and developing him into one of the top older horses in the country.
He's been called many things, "Rocky Balboa", "Senior-Set Superstar" and "Precious Gem". Sometimes he throws in clunkers. Most horses do (unless maybe you’re Zenyatta). But this time, he is training better than ever and we think it is our seven-year-old's time to take home a Breeders' Cup trophy.
Some horses never make it to the races. Others never win. A small club exists of those talented enough to perform in stakes races. An even small group exists of those who can win stakes races. If there was a group called "I Was Seven When I Won My First Grade 1," Awesome Gem would be the president, and one of few (if any) members.
We like to call him "The Gemster." Earlier this year, he was second in both the $1,000,000 Charles Town Classic and Lone Star Park Handicap (G3) after finishing third in the New Orleans Handicap (G2) before sneaking up the rail under David Flores to score that elsuive Grade 1 win in the Hollywood Gold Cup. He’s earned over $2.2 million in his career.
In 2009, Awesome Gem won the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2). Also in 2009, he won a tough Del Mar allowance, was second in both the Eddie Read Handicap (G1) and the Longacres Mile (G3), and was third in the Berkley Stakes (G3).
This seven-year-old gelding has hit the board in fifteen-graded stakes races, including five Grade I's, and won the Grade II San Fernando Stakes in 2007. He also finished second in both the Pacific Classic (G1) and the Goodwood (G1) in 2007. He culminated that year with a third place finish behind Curlin in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Trainer Craig Dollase says, "He's been doing fantastic since his last race and seems to love the cool weather here at Churchill. He was full of run this morning when he galloped over the surface, and we have a lot of confidence in him."
Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds says, "We are so proud of Awesome Gem and all that he has accomplished. Craig Dollase and his team have done a phenomenal job with him and we think the 4th time could very well be the charm with him. He deserves to win a Breeders' Cup race.
The Marathon is the kickoff event for Breeders' Cup 2010 at Churchill Downs. It is race 5 with a post time of 4:10 EDT. Watch the race on ESPN2! Awesome Gem is #7 of 12 with regular pilot David Flores aboard.