10/03/2003 11:00PM

Awesome Humor wins Indiana Oaks

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ANDERSON, Ind. - Awesome Humor broke a string of three consecutive runner-up efforts in graded stakes company with a gutsy win in Friday night's Grade 3, $306,900 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks at Hoosier Park.

Ridden by Robby Albarado, Awesome Humor went for the early lead in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks, but that effort was thwarted as Youcan'ttakeme, Star of Atticus, and Harbor Blues raced as a team going into the first turn. Awesome Humor was just off the heels of that trio, racing along the inside.

Albarado eased Awesome Humor to the outside heading to the far turn, moved to the front on the bend, and then opened a clear lead into the stretch while looking home free.

Awesome Humor was four lengths in front at the eighth pole, but then started to drift out from Albarado's left-handed whip while Cloakof Vagueness, under Edgar Prado, narrowed the margin.

Awesome Humor clung to a three-quarter-length advantage at the wire as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 10 3-year-old fillies. She was timed in 1:45.75 over the muddy surface.

"We're really proud of her. She always shows up with a good performance," said Bill Casner of WinStar Farm, which owns Awesome Humor. "We are shooting to get one million on her card, which would be outstanding for a broodmare,"

The $184,140 winner's share of the Oaks purse boosted Awesome Humor's bankroll to $803,870. She now has a record of 6-3-0 in 10 career starts.

Awesome Humor returned $4.60 and combined with Cloakof Vagueness for a 6-4 exacta worth $26.20. Shot Gun Favorite, ridden by Brice Blanc, checked in third, 3 1/4 lengths behind of the top pair. The field was reduced to 10 with the defections of Golden Marlin and My Trusty Cat earlier in the evening.

A pair of Indiana-bred stakes for fillies topped the Oaks undercard. Tee's Pearl ($3.80) picked up a 1 1/2-length victory in the $39,050 City of Anderson Stakes for 2-year-olds, while Miss Dakota ($6) held off a late charge from Cattle Kate to take the $39,100 Vincennes Stakes for 3-year-olds by three-quarters of a length. Both winners were the favorites.