Awesome Gem Returns to Charles Town for $1,000,000 Charles Town Classic
West Point’s veteran campaigner and Grade 1 winner Awesome Gem returns to Charles Town for the second year in a row to contest the $1,000,000 Charles Town Classic (G3) under the lights on Saturday night.Our gelding flew from Los Angeles to Newark, NJ on Wednesday afternoon before vanning to West Point trainer Jeff Runco's barn at the West Virginia venue. In last year's running of the Classic, Awesome Gem ran a career best Ragozin number (2) in finishing second to hometown favorite Researcher.
An eight-year-old son of Awesome Again, Awesome Gem is our all time leading money earner, with a bankroll of nearly $2.3 million. He’s also made four straight appearances in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, highlighted by a third place finish behind Curlin in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic and hit the board in fourteen graded stakes races.
2010 was a stellar year for Awesome Gem. He captured his first Grade 1 win last summer in the Hollywood Gold Cup, and was second in both the Charles Town Classic and the Lone Star Park Handicap (G3). In 2009, our chestnut 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).
Trainer Craig Dollase said, "We ran him two weeks ago at Golden Gate as a prep for this race, and he came running late to finish third. I am very happy we got a race under his belt and we are looking forward to another solid performance at Charles Town. He's been training very well and we think his best surface is conventional dirt."
"The WPT team and Partners are thrilled to be back at Charles Town with this horse.” said Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds. "We gave him some time after last year's Breeders' Cup, and it seems to have really helped him. His prep race at Golden Gate was exactly what we wanted, and we like our chances."
Aweome Gem is #9 of 10 with top local rider Travis Dunkleberger in the irons. Post time for the Charles Town Classic is 10:30 EDT.
Awesome Gem Photo Slideshow
Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) win in July: