09/21/2012 1:30PM

Awesome Gem retired from racing at age 9

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Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs
Awesome Gem was retired from racing Friday after inflammation was detected in one leg.

Awesome Gem, the multi-millionaire and multiple stakes winner whose seven-year racing career made him a throwback to a bygone era, has been retired, trainer Craig Dollase said Friday.

A 9-year-old gelding, Awesome Gem was found with inflammation in a leg Friday morning, two days before a scheduled start in the $100,000 Ralph Hinds Pomona Invitational at Fairplex Park.

Owned by the West Point Thoroughbreds partnership, Awesome Gem won 11 of 52 starts and earned $2,881,370.

“I’ve always said this – if he had an issue, we’d address it," Dollase said. "He’s been too good to my family and to the West Point partnership.”

Awesome Gem won six stakes at as many tracks, from the ages of 4 to 9, including the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park in 2010. His first stakes win was the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita in 2007. He was promoted to first in the Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields earlier this year after a rival was disqualified for causing interference in the stretch.

Awesome Gem ran in four Breeders’ Cup races, including a third behind Curlin and Hard Spun in the 2007 BC Classic at Monmouth Park.

“That was a big highlight - that and winning the Grade 1,” Dollase said.

“That will be a hard stall to fill. He gave us some wonderful thrills. It’s a credit to the horse. He was just amazing.”

Purchased for $150,000 at the 2005 Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training, Awesome Gem was with Dollase throughout his career.

Awesome Gem was third in his final start, the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 19. He won the 2011 Longacres Mile.

“I’m proud I was part of this horse’s career,” Dollase said. “He was a gem. He was named appropriately. Those are hard to find.”