Awesome Act wins the Gotham
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.