03/02/2010 12:00AM

Awesome Act gets late start on trail

Barbara D. Livingston
Awesome Act, shown at Santa Anita last fall before the BC Juvenile Turf, will make his 2010 debut in the Gotham.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though a lot of thought went into formalizing a plan to get Awesome Act back to North America for a potential run at the spring classics, nothing has gone according to script for the 3-year-old son of Awesome Again.

With races failing to fill and travel plans having to be adjusted, Awesome Act figures to be at a distinct disadvantage when he runs in Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. Though not by design, the race will be Awesome Act's first since he finished a fast-closing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 6 at Santa Anita. It also will come after a later-than-hoped arrival in New York.

Awesome Act, based at Newmarket with trainer Jeremy Noseda, was scheduled to fly to New York last Thursday. But the winter storm that forced Aqueduct to cancel racing last Friday and Saturday also canceled that flight. Now, Awesome Act is not scheduled to arrive on the grounds until about 2 a.m. Wednesday. He will not clear quarantine at Belmont until Friday.

"We're still planning on running him," said Tom Ludt, general manager of Vinery Stables, which owns half of Awesome Act with Paul and Susan Roy. "It's a big step, considering all the obstacles."

Immediately following his fourth-place finish in the Juvenile Turf, Noseda sat down with Ludt and the Roys and told them he thought Awesome Act would handle dirt and "has got the ability to run in your classics if all goes well," Ludt recalled.

The plan was to run in a race at Wolverhampton in December and then ship here for the Gotham, but Awesome Act was scratched. In lieu of being able to race him, Noseda has had to train Awesome Act more aggressively.

According to Ludt, who spent some time with Noseda at Calder over the weekend, Noseda is "very comfortable with where he stands with his fitness and his ability to match up with his good older horses."

Ludt said a winning performance in the Gotham would likely mean that Awesome Act would stay for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial. Ludt said if it appears that the colt does not handle the dirt, he could be shipped to Keeneland for the Blue Grass.

Julien Leparoux, the reigning Eclipse Award-winning rider, will be in to ride Awesome Act in the Gotham.

As of Monday, the Gotham field was expected to include Afleet Again, I've Got the Fever, Nacho Friend, Peppi Knows, Shrimp Dancer, Wow Wow Wow, and Yawanna Twist. Possible starters include Middle of the Nite and Turf Melody.