A small but classy field of six will go postward in Saturday’s $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. The 1 1/8-mile race will offer a starting berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on November 2 to the winner as part of the “Win & You’re In” challenge series.
Higher Power (#1) (2-1) and Draft Pick (#2) (8-1) were always prominent in the Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) last time out, and it appears that the duo will lead the field from the early stages. Favored McKinzie (#4) (4-5) has excellent positional foot and will be right with the speedy pair, with Mongolian Groom (#5) (15-1) a length or two behind him.
Seeking the Soul (#3) (4-1) and Isotherm (#6) (30-1) are likely to trail early on behind an expected honest pace.
$20 Exacta Box 4-5 = $40
$4 Trifecta Part Wheel 4 with 1,5 with all = $32
Here is the field:
HIGHER POWER (#1) (2-1) – Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) romper has never been better and looms large with a repeat of his latest performance. John Sadler trainee draws the rail and shows a bullet six-furlong drill on the oval most recently. Son of Medaglia d’Oro will move to the top of the handicap ranks if he defeats this field.
DRAFT PICK (#2) (8-1) – Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) runner-up has shown steady progression this campaign and rates an obvious chance with continued ascension. Peter Eurton trainee is a three-time winner at The Great Race Place, and the son of Candy Ride continues to train well this season. Joe Talamo retains the mount atop the win threat.
SEEKING THE SOUL (#3) (4-1) – Grade-1 winning bay never fired at Del Mar most recently but gets a pass for his subpar showing over a quirky surface. Dallas Stewart charge came out here early to get a five-eighths drill over the oval last Saturday and should be fit for this assignment.
MCKINZIE (#4) (4-5) – Bob Baffert charge ran arguably the best race of the year in his division in the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga last time out. Consistently excellent son of Street Sense has been first or second in 11 of his 12 lifetime races, and he is a Grade 1 victor locally. Four-year-old colt is training in lights-out fashion and is the one to beat beneath Mike Smith.
MONGOLIAN GROOM (#5) (15-1) – Hard-trying gelding has faced many of the top handicap horses in training as of late and has held up well. The underrated son of Hightail has shown vast improvement since adding blinkers this campaign, and he is Grade 1-placed at Santa Anita, as well. Abel Cedillo will guide contender who possesses great value in the small cast.
ISOTHERM (#6) (30-1) – Longshot in the cast finished third in the 2018 edition of this race, but he is winless since 2017 for Phil D’amato. Six-year-old doesn’t boast great current form and he would be a big surprise facing a fine field today.
PHOTO: McKinzie (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Chris Rahayel