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2022 Awesome Again Stakes Day at Santa Anita

Jockey Edwin Maldonado and Defunded return after winning the 2022 Awesome Again Stakes

Sunday - Zenyatta Stakes

Date: 10/01/2022

The highlight race of the Santa Anita fall meeting is the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes (G1), featuring the best older horses of the west coast going 1 1/8 miles on the main track, and is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Classic to be run on Saturday November 5 at Keeneland. Conditions were typical for the first weekend of October, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80's, with 12,109 fans in attendance. A field of 8 made final entry, with Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Country Grammer sent off as the 11-10 favorite after finishing second in both the San Diego Handicap (G2) and Pacific Classic (G1). In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Royal Ship, winner of the San Diego Handicap but third in the Pacific Classic, and 4-1 third choice Express Train, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) but a distant fourth in the Pacific Classic.

Defunded leads first time by

Jockey Edwin Maldonado sent 5-1 fourth choice Defunded to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 22.67, 46.70, and 1:10.89 while pressed by 14-1 Slow Down Andy and stalked by Express Train and Country Grammer. Turning for home, Defunded continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:36.06. Country Grammer put in a mild rally to no avail as Defunded cruised to a 1 3/4 length win in 1:49.38. It was another 1/2 length back to Slow Down Andy third.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey        Win  Place  Show
 6   Defunded         Maldonado     12.00   4.60  3.40
 4   Country Grammer  Hernandez             3.30  2.40
 8   Slow Down Andy   Gutierrez                   4.40

Winning Time:  1:49.38

$1 Exacta 6-4                14.30
$1 Trifecta 6-4-8           124.20
$1 Superfecta 6-4-8-7       433.80
Results Chart

Left: Defunded in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "I'm proud. Defunded ran so well here before and when we got to Del Mar, he just had a melt down in the paddock and didn't behave himself. Today he was perfect. They all loaded in the gate perfect, and I give Edwin a lot of the credit he is such a great speed rider. He's so smooth out of the gate. He just gets horses running away from there. I told him I'd throw him a nice horse when we got up here and he rode a perfect race."

Right: Defunded heads back to the barns.

Left: Defunded in the paddock before the race. Winning jockey Edwin Maldonado, celebrating his first Grade 1 win said, "It was a very nice trip. Bob told me I had a great shot in this race so put him on the lead. And when Bob says you have a shot, you have a shot. I just want to thank Bob and all the connections for the opportunity, I'm grateful to be here. At the point of my career right now, I was due for a big race. It came through. What better time than the second day in Santa Anita? A good time."

Right: Defunded leads first time by.

Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Country Grammer returns after the race. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "(He) didn't have that punch like he usually has today, he could be getting a little tired."

Right: Third place finisher Slow Down Andy in the post parade. The Doug O'Neill trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third in 9 starts, earning $819,100 for owner-breeder Reddam Racing.

The horses break from the gate for the Awesome Again Stakes.

Saturday morning at 6:30am, undefeated Flightline had a 5 furlong workout going 1:00.40 in preparation for either the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile or Classic. Flightline is undefeated in 5 lifetime starts, including the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) and Pacific Classic (G1) this year, with total earnings of $1,394,800.

Masteroffoxhounds wins the John Henry Turf Championship (G2)
The $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship (G2) is not a Win and You're In qualifier but is the major local prep for the Breeders' Cup Turf, with a field of 6 older horses going 1 1/4 miles on the turf. Del Mar Handicap (G2) winner Gold Phoenix was sent off as the 6-5 favorite over 2-1 second choice Masteroffoxhounds, fifth in both the Eddie Read (G2) and Del Mar Handicap, and 4-1 third choice Cash Equity, 8th in the Eddie Read.

Jockey Umberto Rispoli sent Masteroffoxhounds to the lead exiting the chute through fractions of 24.51, 48.88, 1:13.74, and 1:37.00 while pressed by 16-1 Breakpoint and stalked by 13-2 Dicey Mo Chara. Turning for home Masteroffoxhounds opened up a 3 length advantage. Dicey Mo Chara closed late but Masteroffoxhounds held him off to win by a neck in 1:59.79. It was a head back to favorite Gold Phoenix third.

Results Chart

Left: Masteroffoxhounds in the winner's circle. Winning owner Gary Hartunian said, "I just thought that it kind of set up good for us. We had to go to the lead and hopefully the fractions were slow enough to where we can just close hard, and that is exactly what he did." Trainer Phil D'Amato added, "Masteroffoxhounds has been knocking on the door to a victory. We have been trying to find the right distance for him and I think we have found it today."

Right: Masteroffoxhounds in the paddock. Winning jockey Umberto Rispoli said, "I know that he likes to lead, and he was relaxed sitting upfront. It was a nice trip. He was relaxed and before he turned for home, we kicked out and he hung on until the wire. He was almost caught, so I was wishing that the wire was coming soon, and that's what happened. He was doing phenomenal. The plan worked out beautifully."

Third place finisher and beaten favorite Gold Phoenix in the paddock before the race. Trainer Phil D'Amato said, "Gold Phoenix ran well. He got knocked around early in the race, but I think this race sets him up fine for the Breeders Cup."

Howbeit wins the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2)
The $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2) featured a field of 6 older horses sprinting 6 furlongs on the main track, and is part of the new Breeders' Cup Dirt Dozen series, with the winner earning a $30,000 credit, the runner-up earning a $15,000 credit, and the third place finisher a $7,500 credit, to be applied to the entry fees for the 2022 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Keeneland on November 5. Santa Anita Derby (G1) sixth place finisher Forbidden Kingdom was sent off as the 11-10 favorite over 5-2 second choice Kid Corleone, a close fourth in an allowance last out, and 5-1 third choice C Z Rocket, eighth in the Pat O'Brien (G2).

Jockey Juan Hernandez sent Forbidden Kingdom to the front out of the chute through fractions of 21.58 and 44.18 while pressed by Kid Corleone and stalked by 10-1 Super Ocho. Entering the lane the pacesetters tired allowing Super Ocho to inherit the lead through 5f in 56.99. 6-1 fourth choice Howbeit, 4th early under Mike Smith, came out 4 wide and oufinished C Z Rocket in a late duel to win by a nose in 1:10.15. It was a length back to Super Ocho third, while favorite Forbidden Kingdom was 5th beaten 3 3/4 lengths.

Results Chart

Left: Howbeit in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mark Glatt said, "On paper, I was confident he fit with this field, the competition and the numbers. So I felt we should supplement him and take a shot. I told Mike (Smith) he doesn't like to get dirt in his face. I thought in breaking from the three hole we could get outside in the clear. The one thing I forgot to tell Mike is that when he makes the lead, he has a tendency to pull himself. Luckily, we got there at the wire."

Right: Howbeit heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Mike Smith said, "Mark was really confident, quietly confident in this horse. I jumped past the wire and it looked like the inside horse was in front of me. I was just hoping at the wire I got the nod. It was my first time on the horse, but they gave me a lot of great insight on him. Everything they told me was right on. He's big. He might be a little slow leaving there. You got to help him leaving there, get him in the clear. He doesn't like dirt in his face. If he gets to the front, he'll pull up. So, everything they told me was right. We needed just every bit of that race to hang on and win."

Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Forbidden Kingdom in the post parade. The Richard Mandella trainee has a record of 3 wins, 1 second, and 1 third in 7 starts, earning $438,500 for owners MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm.

Beyond Brilliant wins the City of Hope Mile (G2)
The $200,000 City of Hope Mile (G2) featured a field of 6 older horses going 1 mile on the turf. Charlie Whittingham (G2) winner and Eddie Read (G3) sixth place finisher Beyond Brilliant was sent off as the 9-10 favorite over 3-1 second choice Cathkin Peak, third in both the Eddie Read and Del Mar Mile (G2), and 4-1 third choice Irideo, second in the Del Mar Mile.

Jockey Victor Espinoza sent Beyond Brilliant to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 22.67, 46.16, and 1:09.37 while pressed by 21-1 Tarantino and stalked by 11-2 fourth choice Prince Abama. Into the stretch Beyond Brilliant opened a 2 length lead through 7f in 1:21.01. Cathkin Peak put in a strong rally from last but Beyond Brilliant held him off to win by 3/4 length in 1:32.61. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Prince Abama third.

Results Chart

Left: Beyond Brilliant in the winner's circle. Winning trainer John Shirreffs said, "He ran brilliantly today. He didn't make the race in September. He got spooked, wheeled and wrenched an ankle. Victor had a sweet long rein on him (today), and he wasn't fighting him. He was very relaxed. As far as the Breeders' Cup, we will wait and see. We'll see how he cools down and tomorrow and we'll talk to the owners before we decide."

Right: Beyond Brilliant heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Victor Espinoza said, "He's a very strong horse for his size. He's not an oversized horse, just perfect. His frame is so unique and he's so powerful. Today even with he's fast pace, he was doing it so relaxed. When he does that and he's on high cruise speed, he'll finish pretty well. I needed him to win this time because last time, when he ran in Del Mar, it was a little bit of a challenge for him the way it set up, it was not his race."

Whatmakessammyrun wins the Eddie D Stakes (G2)

The $200,000 Eddie D Stakes (G2) featured a field of 9 older horses sprinting about 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course. Wickerr Stakes runner-up Gregorian Chat was sent off as the 2-1 favorite over 4-1 second choice Lane Way, second in the Green Flash Handicap (G3), and 9-2 third choice Air Force Red, fourth in the Del Mar Mile (G2).

Jockey Juan Hernandez sent 7-1 Goliad to the lead down the hill through fractions of 21.38 and 43.12. In the stretch Goliad tired badly as 18-1 Whatmakessammyrun, 6th early, sweep to the lead through 3/4 in 1:05.52. Kept to task by Joe Bravo, Whatmakessammyrun held off late-running Lane Way to win by 3/4 length in 1:11.47. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to favorite Gregorian Chant third.

Results Chart

Left: Whatmakessammyrun in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mark Glatt said, "We got lucky early on last year, won a couple of stakes and had to give him some time off. When he came back it was all these 5 and 5 1/2 furlong races to choose from, and I kept telling Sam (Hershberger, owner) when we get a chance to get on the hill with this horse, he's going to really improve, because he really is not fast enough going 5/8 and he's got to negotiate between traffic, between horses. It worked out beautiful today, they went pretty quick in front of him and Joe gave him a good ride."

Right: Whatmakessammyrun returns to the barn. Winning jockey Joe Bravo said, "I got beaten by him several times so I was able to watch him. I was never blessed to sit on him, but I felt like I knew him because I watched his races so much. He's a good horse. He got beat three lengths to the best horses in New York. He had a lot of excuses, and I was really confident in today's race. They brought me over a pony to play with today. He just ran faster than everybody else turning for home."

Third place finisher and beaten favorite Gregorian Chant in the paddock before the race. The Phil D'Amato trainee improved his record to 7 wins, 1 second, and 5 thirds in 23 starts, earning $428,623 for owners Old Bones Racing Stable, Slam Dunk Racing, and Michael Nentwig.

Connie Swingle wins the Unzip Me Stakes
Closing out the Saturday stakes action was the $85,000 Unzip Me Stakes for three-year-old fillies sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on downhill course. 15-2 Delmona was quickest away through fractions of 21.53 and 43.52 while pressed by 17-2 Brandon'smylawyer and stalked by 6-5 favorite Connie Swingle. Turning for home, jockey Kyle Frey sent Connie Swingle to lead through 3/4 in 1:05.75. 20-1 Pammy's Ready rallied late but Connie Swingle held her off to win by a neck in 1:11.87. It was another 3/4 length back to 13-1 Countess Rosina third.

Results Chart

Left: Connie Swingle in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Phil D'Amato said, "I'm happy. We got two wins. Hopefully we get one more with one more to go here. Kyle gave her a great ride, sat off the heavy speed there and pounced and had enough to hold off late. It's Nick Alexander, another nice offspring of Grazen, and what can I say? It's just a long line of success with that stallion." Owner Nick Alexander added, "She's now had 9 starts, 9 in the money and 6 wins. She just really wants to beat you. The last race she broke on the lead, and (Kyle) took a hold of her and let the other speed catch up, then let her go away from them down the hill. This hillside seems to be perfect for her."

Right: Connie Swingle gets a pat after winning the race. Winning jockey Kyle Frey said, "She's a good dirt horse but she really does her best running in the turf. Especially down the hill. I kind of kept her a little more geared up because speed's been holding and Umberto (Rispoli aboard pacesetter Delmona) is such a good turf rider. You don't really want to let him get out there on his own. So I made sure to not give him too much breathing room, and I knew if I hit the ground running and got away from everyone, that she has such a turn of foot and so much air that I just didn't see anyone catching us. To be honest, if anyone did, she probably would have re-broke."

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