As September moves to October, the Breeders’ Cup is looming slowly into view. Here is our 2022 Awesome Again Stakes Preview.
With some of the best horses, trainers and jockeys from all over the world already looking ahead to this year’s renewal, there are still several important races that will help decide the final lineups of some of this year’s best races.
One such race is due to take place at Santa Anita this Saturday. The Awesome Again Stakes will see six runners take the track to land not only a Grade 1 contest but also receive a direct entry into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
2022 Awesome Again Stakes
Grade 1, 1 mile and 1 furlong, open to horses aged three and over. Total prize pool $300,000. Winner gains entry into The Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic is one of the highlights of the Breeders’ Cup and this year’s race has added excitement with arguably the best horse in the world Flightline already confirmed in the field.
Looking to take Flightline on is Bob Baffert and he saddles two in this race, with Country Grammer likely to start the race as the favorite.
A shrewd Grade 1 performer, Country Grammer heads into this race as a multiple winner at the highest level, but his form is clouded after Flightline trounced him by 19 lengths last time out in the Pacific Classic Stakes.
What is forgotten in that race, is that although he finished second, he beat the third and fourth by seven lengths and was clearly the second-best horse in the race. A winner of the Dubai World Cup earlier in the year, he can’t be underestimated and looks to be the one to beat here.
The second of Baffert’s runners is Defunded. His form is nowhere near the standard of his stablemate and it looks like he has a lot on his plate if he is to emerge victorious.
Country Grammer’s most likely challenger looks to be Royal Ship. Trained by Richard Mandella, Royal Ship has beaten Country Grammer in the past, when he came out on top in the San Diego Handicap. Country Grammer turned the tables in the Pacific Classic when he finished seven lengths ahead of his rival. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this year’s Awesome Again was decided between these two.
Express Train who is trained by John Shirrefs is another who brings Pacific Classic form into the race. He finished fourth that day and to get his head in front here he will need to beat both Country Grammer and Royal Ship. That looks unlikely and he could be best watched.
Rounding out the field is Slow Down Andy who is trained out of the Doug O’Neill yard and Tripoli who will represent the John Sadler barn.
Slow Down Andy has won four of his eight career starts and looks to be a horse on the up. His form has a solid look about it, a winner last time out he also lost nothing in defeat when he finished second to Epicentre earlier in the season. A win here looks a long shot but he is certainly one of the most intriguing horses in the line up.
Tripoli will make his first start since the San Diego Handicap when he finished sixth behind both Country Grammer and Royal Ship. A former Grade 1 winner, he has the class to compete, but whether he is fully fit and firing remains to be seen.
2022 Awesome Again Stakes Odds & Pick
In a tough race to call, this has the makings to be an intriguing renewal. The likely winner has to be COUNTRY GRAMMER but it wouldn’t be a surprise if Slow Down Andy played a major role in proceedings.
|ODDS BY JAZZSPORTS
|Hector Isaac Berrios
|Royal Ship (BRZ)
|Mike E. Smith
|Juan J. Hernandez
|Ramon A. Vazquez
|Edwin A. Maldonado
|Slow Down Andy
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