Awesome Act takes Gotham Stakes

The return trip to America was worth it: Awesome Act made his debut

on dirt a winning one in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct and moved

closer to a trip to the Kentucky Derby.

Awesome Act rallied in the stretch to beat Yawanna Twist by 1

1/4 lengths in Saturday’s $250,000 Gotham, and will remain in New

York to prepare for next month’s Wood Memorial, a final prep before

the Derby on May 1.

The 3-year-old England-based colt finished fourth in the

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita last year in his first

trip to the U.S. After that race, trainer Jeremy Noseda and the

owners decided Awesome Act had Derby potential and planned to test

him on a dirt track.

Awesome Act aced the exam. The chestnut colt ridden by Julien

Leparoux swept into contention with a four-wide move on the final

turn. He continued down the center of the track for his second win

in seven starts for Vinery Stables and Mrs. Susan Roy.

Awesome Act, who didn’t arrive until Wednesday because a

snowstorm canceled last week’s flight, covered the 1 1-16 miles in

1:43.85 over a fast track.

“I believed in this horse today,” Noseda said. “It was a good

solid race, but there were no graded stakes winners. It’s the first

hurdle out of the way, so the dream lives on.”

Noseda said the plan calls for Awesome Act to continue his

training at Belmont Park in preparation for the $750,000 Wood.

Noseda will return to his home base in England, but leaves his

Derby hopeful with two assistants.

“He was beyond good on the dirt,” Leparoux said. “It didn’t

matter to him at all. He just did everything on his own, he put me

in the right spots, and then he just finished very nice. I think

more distance will be good.”

Yawanna Twist finished strong for second, followed by Nacho

Friend, Turf Melody, Shrimp Dancer, Peppi Knows, I’ve Got the

Fever, Wow Wow Wow, Three Day Rush and Afleet Again.

Awesome Act, a son of 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner

Awesome Again, returned $7.70, $5.10 and $3.80. Yawanna Twist paid

$5.90 and $4.70, and Nacho Friend returned $6.80 to show. Awesome

Act earned $150,000 to boost his career earnings to $221,691.

Earlier, 6-5 favorite Wall Street Wonder extended his winning

streak to three by holding off a determined Custom for Carlos by a

neck in the $100,000 Toboggan Stakes for 3-year-olds and up.

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