01/28/2012 4:37PM

Gulfstream: Awesome Feather puts away her rivals again

Barbara D. Livingston
Awesome Feather, with Jeffrey Sanchez up, pulls away to win the Sunshine Millions Distaff.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The champion is still undefeated.

In her return to south Florida, where she launched her career as a 2-year-old, Awesome Feather poked her head in front with three furlongs remaining and then rolled to a 5 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s $300,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park.

Delightful Mary, who made a menacing move around the turn, outlasted a tired bunch of fillies and mares to be second by 1 1/4 lengths over Sweet Repent, last year’s winner of this race. My Pal Chrisy, Tiz the Argument, and Perfect Embrace completed the order of finish.

It was the ninth win from as many starts for Awesome Feather, a 4-year-old daughter of Awesome of Course owned by Frank Stronach and trained by Chad Brown. As a 2-year-old, Awesome Feather was owned by Fred Brei and trained by Stanley Gold. She went 5 for 5 at Calder before winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs and was crowned 2-year-old filly champion of 2010.

A tendon injury sidelined Awesome Feather for most of her 3-year-old season, but she ended 2011 with a win in the Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct.

Saturday, she picked up where she left off. Under Jeffrey Sanchez, Awesome Feather was lapped on to the pacesetting Tiz the Argument– the wise-guy second choice at 6-5 – through fractions of 23.46 seconds for the quarter and 46.69 for the half-mile. Awesome Feather put away Tiz the Argument after six furlongs in 1:10.82, but appeared to be getting another challenge from Delightful Mary.

But Delightful Mary took a funny step leaving the quarter pole, and Sanchez hit Awesome Feather one time and she took off before dawdling and drifting a little down the lane. Awesome Feather covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.17 and returned $3.60 as the 3-5 favorite.

“She broke so sharp I don’t fight her too much,” Sanchez said. “I know when I sent her she kept going – she don’t stop.”

Brown said he instructed Sanchez not to let Tiz the Argument get away and said while the early fractions were hot, Awesome Feather appeared to be doing it easily.

“I think in the Gazelle she was a lot more rank than today,” Brown said. “Today I thought she settled nice. I know they were going fast, she was doing it so easy. I’m just real happy with the performance. She’s a real remarkable horse.”