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Belmont Park: Awesome Feather returning with eye to Breeders' Cup
ELMONT, N.Y. – With hopes of making it next to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, the undefeated champion Awesome Feather returns to the races off an eight-month layoff Thursday in the $85,000 Nasty Storm Stakes at Belmont Park.
Awesome Feather, who was the champion 2-year-old filly of 2010, will be making just her fourth start since winning the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in the Nasty Storm, a one-mile race that goes as the third on Belmont’s nine-race card.
Early in her 3-year-old year, after being purchased the previous November for $2.3 million at Keeneland’s November sale by Frank Stronach, Awesome Feather was found to have a bowed tendon. She returned to the races last October in a similar spot as this, winning a seven-furlong overnight stakes at Belmont by two lengths before dominating the Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct in November.
Awesome Feather, trained by Chad Brown, kicked off her 4-year-old campaign with a visually impressive 5 3/4-length score in the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28. She was headed back to graded stakes competition, but came out of a March 18 workout at Palm Meadows with a problem and was again sidelined.
“She came out of a workout not 100 percent up front, so we had the Adena Springs team look at her. They found what the issue was,” Brown said. “It just required some time. They were nice enough to leave her with me, and as we’ve done all along, we worked together. We rechecked her several times, and she seems good to go.”
Awesome Feather was training regularly during the summer and shows eight workouts over Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track since July 10.
“She’s got a nice string of works at Saratoga,” Brown said. “She looks like she’s doing really well. We’re hopeful to get to the Breeders’ Cup, so this looks like a logical spot to maybe get us there.”
Awesome Feather has to carry top weight of 124 pounds, spotting seven pounds to all but one of her rivals. Withgreatpleasure, an overnight stakes winner at Delaware Park, will carry 121 pounds.
“It’s always a challenge being a high-weighted horse off this long of a layoff,” said Brown, who also has Kid Kate entered and ready to run in this spot. “With an undefeated horse, it’s a rare situation. It’s always concerning for a trainer, for sure. There’s not much I can do about it. She’s 9 for 9, she’s going to have to carry weight, she’s going to have to deal with a layoff.”
Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. entered four horses in the Nasty Storm, but as of Tuesday morning was uncertain which of the quartet would run. He indicated that All Due Respect, beaten two lengths in the Grade 1 Ballerina, was likely to start. The other three – Tiz the Argument, Acting Happy, and Believe In A.P. – comprise a Jay Em Ess Stable-owned entry. Tiz the Argument or Acting Happy has to scratch as John Velazquez is named on both.
Cash for Clunkers, second in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps over this track in May, is another contender in this spot.
Also on Thursday’s card is the $80,000 The Given Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies going a mile on the turf. Colonial Flag, winner of a Grade 3 at Woodbine in her last start and an allowance winner over this course in May, heads the 12-horse field.
Wow was she good today. She ran like a top colt and romped in 1:33 and change and chased a fast pace. If she stays healthy into the BC I think she will win. She fresh and very fast. I like that combo.
If anyone can get this talented miss ready after an 8 month layoff it's Chad Brown, he is a student of the late Robert (Bobby) Frankel who excelled with the talented runners off of layoffs and this miss is super talented. It's picture time and move her record to 10 for 10
Awesome Feather always looked like a skinny, wiry little filly, but tough as nails. Many doubted her as she was coming out of Calder in mostly Fla.-bred races, but she proved top-class at two, at three and now at four. At her best, she is as good as Royal Delta, and Royal Delta isn't always at HER best, so I think AF has a shot if she's really coming around. Without the other "Awesome" (Awesome Maria), it should be an easier task. "Can't wait to bet against her?" Well, you would be missing out on some pretty decent odds, since she has been out of sight, out of mind much of the time, while others get the hype.
Can't wait to bet against her in the Breeders Cup. Her prep schedule is less than ideal and you need everything going right to win a Cup race. Plus she's East Coast going to Santa Anita.
My favorite older filly/mare racing right now! I can't wait to get home and watch!
It may sound outrageous, but neither Stanley Gold nor Chad Brown have found the bottom of the tank on this remarkable filly. The Florida homebred was never all out when winning her first six outings for Jacks or Better Farm with Gold training in south Florida and then in her BC Juvenile Filly triumph. Ditto for Brown training her for Frank Stonach's stable - she just galloped in the GI Gazelle last fall and toyed with the opposition in the Sunshine Millions early this year. All nine of Feather's victories have been by daylight, drawing off. It is of interest that the former owner and breeder, Fred Brei, owner of Jacks or Better near Ocala, FL pulled off a cagey coup with Awesome Feather. In the span of less than four days, Feather was victorious in a $2 million race and sold at Keeneland for another $2.3 million. Brei is a horseman and a businessman, par excellence. I can't find where any other 2-year old filly has turned that kind of a profit, especially in less than 48 hours. I totally approve of Brown's plan to use this minor stakes as a public workout on her way to a big chunk of Breeders Cup history. If Feather wins the Nasty Storm, and returns to take the BC Distaff, she will be the only undefeated horse to win two Breeders Cup races. I'm not comparing her to Zenyatta, for their careers have been quite different, but even that glorious mare fell a nose short of being the only horse to have managed such a monumental feat. If Feather comes out of this race in good shape, the stage will be set for her to create a living legend at Santa Anita on Filly and Mare Friday at the Breeders Cup. Go Feather!
I await with pleasure. Talented, talented, talented........
MY favorite filly. She has so much heart. I am glad to see her back. Chad has done an awesome job bringing her back.. I hope she continues her dominate career.