05/25/2009 11:00PM

Autism Awareness ($62.80) does it again


ALBANY, Calif. - Autism Awareness pulled off another major upset in a graded stakes, winning a four-way photo in Monday's Grade 3, $150,000 Berkeley Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Autism Awareness paid $62.80 on Monday and had scored a $126 upset in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows last year.

Jockey David Lopez had Autism Awareness in midpack as Our Partner set comfortable fractions of 24.92, 49.12 and 1:12.46 before giving way in the 1 1/16-mile race over Tapeta. Bold Chieftain took over into the lane as Autism Awareness was making a four-wide move. Bold Chieftain led by a half-length at the eighth pole as the field began to bunch up. Autism Awareness surged in the final strides to put his head in front, with Bold Chieftain holding off favored Awesome Gem by another head for second and Medzendeekron another nose back in fourth after being boxed in on the second turn.

"We thought he had a good shots regardless of the odds," winning trainer Genaro Vallejo said. "He likes to be in the clear, and that's where David kept him."

Lopez gave Autism Awareness a patient ride.

"Genaro told me to sit back and let the speed go," Lopez said. "I had a perfect trip - in the clear on the outside. He wanted to go leaving the backstretch but I waited because I knew I had a lot of horse and there were good horses behind me."

Autism Awareness, a $1,000 yearling purchase by Johnny Taboada, earned $90,000 for his fourth victory in 22 starts. His career earnings are $281,745.