(McKinzie at Churchill Downs / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
America’s current top rated older horse, McKinzie, and rising star Higher Power are set to square off in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes, which has attracted a field of six 3-year-olds and up at a mile and one eighth. A Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, the winner will earn a fees-paid berth into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
A recent winner of the Grade I Whitney Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 3, McKinzie, who is trained by Bob Baffert, has never been better and looms a short priced favorite. Trained by John Sadler, Higher Power exits the best race of his career, a 5 ¼ length win in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar Aug. 17.
Owner: Mike Pegram, Karl Watson & Paul Weitman
Trainer: Bob Baffert
The early favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 2, this 4-year-old colt by Street Sense pressed the pace en route to an emphatic 1 ¾ length victory in the Grade I Whitney, a race in which he earned an Awesome Again best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 111. A close second two starts back as the 8-5 favorite in the Grade I Met Mile at Belmont, he’s won two out of his last three starts and will be bidding for his fifth Grade I victory in what will be his 13th career start.
Owner: Hronis Racing LLC
Trainer: John Sadler
Originally based in the Midwest through his first nine starts, this 4-year-old colt by Medaglia d’Oro made his fourth start with Sadler in the Grade I Pacific Classic Aug. 17 and responded with an eye-catching performance that has thrust him into the position of Classic hopeful. Ridden for the first time by Flavien Prat, Higher Power, in garnering his first stakes victory, earned a lofty 107 Beyer in the process.
Owner: C R K Stable LLC
Trainer: Peter Eurton
Under the radar at 13-1, this 4-year-old Candy Ride colt was attentive to the pace while fifth early in the Pacific Classic and out-gamed Mongolian Groom late to run second, beaten 5 ¼ lengths by Higher Power in the Pacific Classic. With Joe Talamo riding him back, Draft Pick rates an upset chance on Saturday.
THE GRADE I AWESOME AGAIN WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 10 of 11 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
- Higher Power–Flavien Prat–125
- Draft Pick–Joe Talamo–121
- Seeking the Soul–Brian Hernandez, Jr.–123
- McKinzie–Mike Smith–125
- Mongolian Groom–Abel Cedillo–121
- Isotherm–Geovanni Franco–121
First post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.