Who is the greatest Awesome Again Stakes winner?

September 29th, 2021

The Awesome Again S. (G1), previously known as the Goodwood S., has long featured the upper echelon of the West Coast handicap division in its final preparations for the Breeders' Cup.

Let's look back on some of the best horses in the history of this race, and then you tell us — who is the greatest of them all?

California Chrome

California Chrome not only immensely popular, bred in California by a couple of brash, regular folks, but he was a very good racehorse.

A Cal-bred stakes winner at age two, he dominated the West Coast spur of the Derby trail at three, won the Kentucky Derby (G1) and the Preakness S. (G1), and ran a gritty third, behind Bayern, in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1).

Though his four-year-old season was more "whoa" than "go," the shining chestnut was better than ever at five. He won seven of his eight starts that year, including victories in the Dubai World Cup (G1), Pacific Classic (G1), and Awesome Again. His only loss that year was a second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic, behind Arrogate.

Game On Dude

This son of Awesome Again won this race twice.

In 2011, he won its last running as the Goodwood by a half-length, over fellow Awesome Again son Awesome Gem. The next year, he won it the first year it was named for his sire — by 3 1/2 lengths over Nonios, a son of two-time Goodwood winner Pleasantly Perfect.

Though Game On Dude was a good three-year-old and won the 2010 Lone Star Derby (G3), the gelding came into his best as an older horse.

His first Grade 1 win came in the 2011 Santa Anita H. (G1), when he got up by a gritty nose as a 14-1 longshot. Then he became synonymous with the biggest handicap races in California. 

Lava Man

Lava Man is most closely associated with the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1). His 17 wins include three in that race.

The California-bred gelding started his career in the claiming and starter ranks. He didn't try graded company until a second-place finish in the 2004 Malibu S. (G1), in the final week of his three-year-old year, when he finished a close second to Rock Hard Ten.

From there, he rose to the upper echelon at age four and stayed there through six. He only contested the Goodwood once, in 2006, but he made the most of that opportunity. After an early duel, he won by open lengths.

Shared Belief

Shared Belief was a horse who left us wondering, "what if?" But he was also the epitome of a horse who could rise to the challenge.

The little, nearly-black son of Candy Ride was so dominant in three starts at age two that he won the championship without running at the Breeders' Cup.

At three, he dominated the Pacific Classic, his first start against older horses, then dug in with all the gameness he could find to win the Awesome Again by a neck, over Fed Biz.

Though his bad luck in the Breeders' Cup Classic is well-documented, he cut back to win the Malibu, prevailed in his showdown with California Chrome in the San Antonio S. (G2), and won the Santa Anita H. (G1) easily.

Silver Charm

Silver Charm may have fallen three-quarters of a length short of a Triple Crown in 1997, but the gray continued to shine at the top level well after.

At age four, he won the Dubai World Cup. Though it took a few starts to get back into winning form after that, he found the winner's circle again at the Kentucky Cup Classic (G2), then three weeks later in the Goodwood, where he outfinished Free House to win by a decisive 2 1/2 lengths.

That put him in good form for the Breeders' Cup Classic, where Silver Charm came in second to Awesome Again. Silver Charm finished his year with a decisive score in the Clark H. (G2).


Tiznow was not precocious.

The California-bred did not debut until age three and it took him three starts to break his maiden. But once he graduated in May of 2000, he quickly became a star.

He never again ran in anything but graded stakes and never ran out of the top three in any of those starts.

His first victory against older horses came in the 2000 Goodwood, where he dug in to deny Captain Steve by a half-length. It tuned him up perfectly for his first Breeders' Cup Classic win, which came by a neck over Giant's Causeway.

Though Tiznow finished only third in the Goodwood the next year, a length behind Freedom Crest, it was enough to tune him up for the Breeders' Cup. He came back on Sakhee to win the 2001 Classic by a nose. He is the only two-time winner of the Classic.