Awesome Banner continued to show he is one of the leading three-year-old sprinters around, while Economic Model got in a useful prep for, presumably, longer races in Saturday’s $200,000 Swale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The 9-10 favorite in a field of six, Awesome Banner was pressed by Noholdingback Bear into setting a pace of :22.68 and :45.07, but shook that rival off approaching the quarter pole and drew off to win by five lengths in a time of 1:21.81 for seven furlongs over a fast track.
Ridden by Jose Caraballo, who also guided the Awesome of Course colt to a track record-setting maiden win by 9 3/4 lengths last June and and a 4 3/4-length romp in the Hutcheson (G3) January 2, Awesome Banner paid $3.80.
“I was anxious until he drew off,” said Stanley Gold, who trains the colt for owner-breeder Jacks or Better Farm. “I was watching the horse on the outside coming up but I knew we were clipping along. I wanted to see him do it the same way he did last time and he had that gear and he had that stamina and he just took off. I’m very satisfied, and as time goes on rather than run big races he’s showing consistency. We know kind of what we’ve got here, let’s just see how far up the ladder we can go.”
“I honestly don’t know [what’s next],” Gold continued. “I’m not going to think about it. Certainly two turns is going to be on the horizon and if you want to think bigger than the Fountain of Youth (G2) you have to start going along and getting points. We’ll see.”
Economic Model, the 3-1 second choice making his first start since winning on debut at Saratoga by 2 1/4 lengths last August, was never a serious threat and made a mild rally up the inside to nose out Richie the Bull for second. His final three furlongs — approximately :37 1/5 — was nothing special, but he figures to move forward in his second start, perhaps a race like the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth on February 27.
(Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos)