California Chrome cruises to win in Awesome Again
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) California Chrome cruised to a 2 1/4-length victory in the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita, improving to 6-0 this year as the front-runner for Horse of the Year honors.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.07 and paid $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10 as the 2-5 favorite.
Dortmund returned $2.20 and $2.10, while Win the Space was another 4 1/2 lengths back in third and paid $2.80 to show.
Chrome earned an all-fees paid berth in the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic next month on the same track. The victory also kept alive the 5-year-old's bid to earn a $1 million bonus for sweeping the Pacific Classic, Awesome Again and BC Classic.
Two down, one to go.
Chrome won the $1 million Pacific Classic by five lengths last month at Del Mar.
It was nearly a match race between Chrome and Dortmund, who dueled at the front while the other three runners lagged behind. Chrome pulled away from Dortmund approaching the final turn. Espinoza didn't use his whip in the stretch and eased Chrome nearing the finish line.
As Chrome and Espinoza made their way past the grandstand, the jockey waved to cheering ''Chromies,'' the horse's fans.
Wearing blinkers for the first time since his career debut, Dortmund lost for the first time in six starts at Santa Anita under trainer Bob Baffert.
The victory, worth $180,000, increased Chrome's career earnings to $13,432,500 as North America's career earnings leader.
Earlier, Espinoza rode Gormley to a three-length upset in the $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes.
Gormley ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.57 and paid $23.60, $9 and $3 at 11-1 odds. The 2-year-old colt is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, the same group that campaigned superstar mare Zenyatta.
Gormley also won his career debut by 4 1/2 lengths at Del Mar on Sept. 4.
Klimt, the 1-5 favorite trained by Baffert, returned $2.20 and $2.10, while Straight Fire was another 4 1/2 lengths back in third and paid $2.20 to show.
Secret House, a 60-1 shot, was rambunctious in the starting gate and jockey Santiago Gonzalez stepped off before the gate opened. That triggered an inquiry by the stewards, who ruled Secret House was a non-starter and the track refunded all money wagered on him. Gonzalez did a similar thing in a race last week at Los Alamitos.
There are five Grade 1 races on the card with the winners earning fees-paid berths in the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita on Nov. 4-5.