09/17/2010 4:59PM

Awesome Feather's connections consider all their options

Jim Lisa
Awesome Feather could run in one of two stakes next Saturday at Calder or await the My Dear Girl in October.

MIAMI – Perhaps the most pressing question a week out from Saturday’s Festival of the Sun Preview program at Calder is: What will trainer Stanley Gold and owner Fred Brie decide to do with Awesome Feather?

They have plenty of options for Awesome Feather, including running the undefeated 2-year-old filly against her own kind in the Brave Raj, trying her against males in the Foolish Pleasure, or keeping her in the barn altogether and training her up to her main local objective, the $375,000 My Dear Girl on Oct. 18.

A call to Gold shortly after training hours on Friday did little to clear up the mystery.

“Originally we were going to wait for the My Dear Girl for sure,” said Gold of the final leg of the Florida Stallion Stakes. “Now we’re not quite sure. The Stallion Stakes is definitely what we’re pointing for, but at the moment we’re still leaving our options open. I could use one of the two stakes next weekend as a prep rather than breezing her a mile somewhere along the way as I plan to do if we don’t get another race into her. We’ve got a few more days to decide, although we’re getting closer with entries closing on Monday.”

Gold, who said Awesome Feather would be considered for the Breeders’ Cup if she continues to dominate locally, was in a similar situation one year ago with Jackson Bend. Like Awesome Feather, he had swept the opening two legs of the Stallion Stakes. But instead of using the Foolish Pleasure as a prep, Gold trained Jackson Bend into the In Reality and was rewarded when his star overcame an unlucky start to complete the sweep.

“It’s a different kind of story this year compared to last because these are two different types of horses,” said Gold. “Jackson Bend gave 110 percent and ran his eyeballs out every time he raced and needed the extra time between starts. We didn’t want to overdo it with him. This filly didn’t come close to hitting the bottom of the tank winning her last start. That race took nothing out of her. She came back as high as a kite, and just keeping her on the ground now is a challenge.”

Gold also has the luxury of having two other 2-year-olds nominated to next weekend’s major stakes, Alley Oop Oop for the Foolish Pleasure and Evil Queen for both the Brave Raj and Foolish Pleasure.

“We could stay the conservative route and not run Awesome Feather against the boys,” said Gold. “Although that race might actually come up easier since several of the major contenders, such as Little Drama and Vee’s Accolade, are entered in the allowance race here Saturday. And don’t forget, Awesome Feather’s final time when she won last time was more than a full second faster than the boys division the same day.”

Gold also said he thinks Alley Oop Oop would have a good chance of winning the Foolish Pleasure himself if he goes in that direction.
“He beat Little Drama earlier this year and was second to him in the Frank Gomez,” said Gold. “He had a little setback after that with his shins and needed his last start in the Affirmed.”

Alley Oop Oop finished a tiring fifth, 7 1/2 lengths behind the unbeaten Gourmet Dinner, in the seven-furlong Affirmed.