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The Dark Horse

Awad Sets Course Record in Arlington Million XV!!

Earlier this year we lost our friend and 14-time winner Awad (Caveat – Dancer’s Candy by Noble Dancer).  This turf eater had finished in the money in 50% of his races over his great career and had won some very prestigious races such as the Pilgrim, the Secretariat, the Maryland Million, and the Manhattan.


However in my opinion, Awad’s greatest victory was in the Arlington Million in 1995.  That day Awad turned in a dominating performance by not only winning by 2 ¼ lengths with Eddie Maple aboard, but set a course record of 1:58.3: a record for 1 ¼ miles that still stands today.  Awad proved again that day how much he loved the Chicago turf course.  You see, Awad had already won the Secretariat Stakes on the same turf track as a three year old in 1993.  Note that he also ran well again after that great victory in Chicago with a place finish in the 1996 Arlington Million and then finished third in the 1997 Stars and Stripes.  Definitely a horse for the course!



With the white turf rail set at lane 5, and the gate set at 1 ¼ miles on the expansive turf course, champion Awad let the early speed dictate the race as he dropped back to 9th (of 11) early.  And what a pace it was!!  Speed burner, Arlington winner, and son of former Million champion Manila, Manilaman, held the lead through a full mile of the race setting blistering fractions of :22.4, :46.2, 1:10.3, and 1:35.1.  3-2 post time favorite Sandpit set off on the pace with Corey Nakatani aboard and Kiri’s Clown held second behind the leader.


The final quarter mile would change the Arlington Million forever.  26-1 longshot, The Vid, grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch while Awad passed rivals, jumping to second place.  What happened after that was magical.  With a huge burst of speed Awad went five-wide and jumped ahead of Sandpit and The Vid drawing clear under Maple’s strong handling to set the new course record.  Again, the record still stands to this day!  To me, it’s amazing how some of these records stand the test of time. 


Awad will always have a special place in my heart and I am thankful for his 21 great years with us and his legacy will live on through the likes of Johns Pic and Wadadelight. 


As the Million draws near, I wonder if any other horse will ever come close to the record Awad set that day.

 

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Older Comments about Awad Sets Course Record in Arlington Million XV!!...

His time from the 10 furlongs was incredible. Wish I could of been there to experience it!
Awad……the horse that no one seemed to respect. A four time G1 winner of $3.2 million and yet in 70 career races was favored only 16 times and was even money or less only twice. His greatest win was that Million in 1995 when he defeated Sandpit and The Vid in 1.58.3 for the 10F, the course record. In June of that year, 10 weeks before the Million, he ran another big one winning the Manhattan at Belmont in 1.58.2 for the 10F. One of his greatest races was when he finished 5th in the Japan Cup in 1996 beaten by 1 ½ lengths by Singspiel in a 15 horse field. And to think he started his career in a maiden 50K claimer.
I always considered Awad a major late running threat year after year in the big turf races at Arlington Park. His '95 run was powerful!
I like your description of Awad as a "turf eater"!
RIP AWAD! What a great horse he was, nice piece!

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 (Whoa - it's me - the DARK HORSE)
 
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog!  I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old.  Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!!  I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!).  I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
 
While finishing school in Chicago, I spent every possible moment at Arlington Park with my dad.  We took the time to develop computer programs (on the ever popular Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS) to try to find patterns and handicap races more accurately.  My dad taught me a lot about handicapping races, paying particular attention to class moves!

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