04/11/2011 12:29PM

Keeneland the spot for Awesome Act's return

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Barbara D. Livingston
Awesome Act came out of the 2010 Kentucky Derby with a staph infection.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Awesome Act entered the 2010 Kentucky Derby as something of a wise-guy horse, an 11-1 shot with sneaky-good form. A lot of good that did him. Beaten more than 60 lengths, Awesome Act exited the Derby with a staph infection that put him on the sidelines for several months.

Duly regrouped by his new trainer, Steve Asmussen, Awesome Act will make his return to the races Wednesday at Keeneland as part of an oversubscribed field in a $58,000, second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

“I’m anxious to run him,” said Asmussen. “We tried to get him in a race a week or two ago at Santa Anita, but it didn’t go. We’re just trying to make this as smooth as possible for him. We’re hoping to have a big year with him, because he’s obviously a horse of quality.”

Awesome Act, owned by Susan Roy and Vinery, was trained by Jeremy Noseda when he won the Gotham Stakes in impressive fashion as the favorite, then ran third behind Eskendereya in the Wood Memorial before his Derby debacle. In preparing for his return, the chestnut ridgling had six recorded workouts at the Ocala, Fla., division of Vinery last fall, one at Fair Grounds in January, seven at Santa Anita, then a final half-mile breeze Saturday morning over the Polytrack at Keeneland.

Julien Leparoux, whose five wins during the opening three days of this 15-day spring meet led all riders, will be back aboard Awesome Act when he breaks from post 6 in the eighth of nine Wednesday races. One of his main rivals is Cat Park, who will start from post 11 with Rosie Napravnik to ride. Surprisingly, Napravnik, the runaway leading jockey at Fair Grounds this winter, went winless from 15 mounts on opening weekend.

Two other allowances, each worth $54,000 with a first-level condition, also are carded for Wednesday, when first post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern. Both also are scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf, with race 3 for 3-year-old colts and geldings and race 6 for 3-year-old fillies.

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