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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

2012 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic: Perfection

Awesome Feather
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Due to a very light racing schedule the past two years, Awesome Feather is not one of the most talked about horses heading to the 2012 Breeders’ Cup. That might be a big mistake. 
Looking for her second win at the World Championships, this time in the Ladies’ Classic, the still unbeaten daughter of Awesome of Course has been nothing short of dominant in her only two starts of 2012. Now, as the 2010 Champion Two-year-old Female prepares for her biggest test to date, it appears that the filly who swept to victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies two years ago, is in the shape of her life. It’s been a long and winding road for Awesome Feather, but a win against a loaded field two weeks from today would take her full circle from an unheralded Calder baby all the way to racing immortality.
It all began for Awesome Feather in South Florida during the spring of 2010. At the time owned by Jacks or Better Farm and trained by Stanley Gold, the Florida homebred made her debut on the initial day of May. Sent off at odds of nearly 7-1, the bay filly went right to the lead and romped to a 5 ¾ length victory over seven other juvenile fillies in a 4 ½ furlong maiden special weight at Calder. From there, Awesome Feather methodically outclassed her competition at the Miami oval, reeling off four consecutive victories with ever-building ease. Wins in the J J's Dream Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs, the Desert Vixen Stakes at 6 furlongs, the Susan's Girl Stakes at 7 furlongs, and finally the My Dear Girl Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, proved to her Florida based connections that she had the stuff to challenge the best two-year-old fillies in the nation.
On November 5, 2010, under the famed twin spires of Churchill Downs, Awesome Feather was sent off as a slight favorite at odds of 4-1 despite the huge step up in class she was making against eleven others in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Confidently ridden by the only jockey she’s ever known, Jeffrey Sanchez, Feather stalked the early pace of highly regarded R Heat Lightning, collared her in the stretch, and powered home to win be a decisive 2 ¼ lengths. Now undefeated in 6 starts, she was an overwhelming choice for the Eclipse Award.
Before she was rewarded with the year-end honor though, Feather rewarded her connections with a monetary windfall, as the filly from modest beginnings was sold to Frank Stronach's Adena Springs for the Fasig-Tipton November Sale’s top price of $2.3 million. Young, up-and-coming trainer, Chad Brown would now have the champion in his barn.
Things would not be smooth sailing for the new partnership, though, as a tendon problem surfaced that would keep the champion away from the races for a full eleven months. Making her much awaited return to the races last October, the first for her new connections, it was business as usual for the little filly with the big heart as she scored a facile triumph at Belmont Park in the 7 furlong Le Slew Stakes. Next came a return right back into Grade 1 racing with the Gazelle Handicap at Aqueduct over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  
Stretching out to nine furlongs for the first time, Awesome Feather was a little over eager first, but settled down nicely as she tracked the now well-known Love and Pride through a rather moderate pace. Taking the speedster on the far turn it would not take long before the champ took command, and from there she steadily drew away to win her second grade 1 by 5 ¼ lengths. 2011 may have been a largely lost year for Feather, but in the Gazelle she proved that she had not lost anything from the talent she had shown before the tendon injury. She also raised her lifetime mark to 8-for-8.
Things would begin the right way for as a four-year-old, as a start in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff in late January at Gulfstream Park was little more than a formality as Feather coasted home by an easy 5 ¾ lengths. It seemed the world was her oyster and 2012 was going to be a very big year. Of course the best laid plans are only plans, and when a reoccurrence of her tendon issue was detected, her connections backed right off.
Despite working lights out for what seemed to be months, Feather would not make her return to the races until four weeks ago in the Nasty Storm Stakes at Belmont. The wait was well worth it, as Awesome Feather ran much like a nasty storm to the tune of an 11 ¼ length spanking of anything in her way.  The victory, completed in 1:33.47 for the flat mile once again proved that an extended layoff was not going to slow this dynamo down.
Now 10-for-10, Awesome Feather is on the brink of doing something truly special at Santa Anita, but of course, nothing worthwhile comes easy. Standing in her way will be the likes of fellow champion and Breeders’ Cup winner, Royal Delta, not to mention Questing, My Miss Aurelia, Love and Pride, Include Me Out, Grace Hall, and In Lingerie. Clearly the task is a large one.
Only two other fillies were able to win the Ladies’ Classic while still undefeated: Personal Ensign, who did it in her career finale back in 1988, and Zenyatta, in the first year of her amazing three-year Breeders’ Cup career, four years ago. I don’t think I need to say more about what kind of company Awesome Feather would be joining if she is good enough to get it done.


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Older Comments about 2012 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic: Perfection...

I honestly don't see Awesome Feather winning this race... I mean she has won two graded stakes but what amazing horse has she beat?
  • andy.dean.9212 · She just does what it takes. Knows what it's all about. And doesn't care about not beating any "amazing" horses. You'll see come Friday when she sits the trip behind Questing and goes right on by at the top of the stretch to win in hand by a comfortable margin. That 1:33 & change mile shows her ability and is the perfect set up! · 1643 days ago
Feather has a chance to Bookend the Breeders Cup...I want to live to see it , I have loved her for so long, I still remember rewinding that stallion stakes race over and over and over, telling my husband how wonderful she was and just about on her fouth win I said to him if she ships to the BC I am picking her... To Have loved a horse for so long and been able to meet her and kiss her and know heris the best gift, I have met Zenny and it was life changing, but Awesome is different, she is just such a determined girl, to comeback after 2, count them, 2 injuries, wow, what does that tell you? She is so brave and so wonderful, she is just Awesome....
Plus she will be put up for HOY older female and win it with the BC in her pocket if she takes this race
Brian, I have loved Feather, as everyone on this planet knows, since her 2nd race, she is amazing, she has courage, and HEART. I last kissed her when no one knew if she would ever race again, and she was full of herself :) happy spunky and fearless.Her Trainers aka Chad Brown and company have kept he so happy and sound and her owner aka Frank has let them do it. It is because of all 3 factors, A great Horse, A great Owner, A great Trainer that she has flourished. She has made not 1 but 2 comebacks, she has posted a neyer speed most would be jealous of, she has almost broken a record time, she is undefeated, she has run on both surfaces and has prooved she can ship. She has a pedigree on BOTH sides people are jealous of, and she has beauty <3. But most of all Brian she has stamina, she has stick to it-ness, she has prooven that she CAN and will come back , again and again, she has courage to withstand pain and recover, she does not give up. I simply love this horse as if I gave birth to her because in the end, no matter where she crosses that finish line, she is THE winner. She is just that Great <3
I get chill's reading about this gifted Filly. can't wait to see her at Santa Anita and what a field has assembled for this Ladies Classic renewal. No question I will be backing Awesome Feather and will be looking for Royal Delta and Mike Smith rolling after her in the lane only to come up short by about 3 lengths.
Betting on Love and Pride (who's already beaten RD and It's Tricky) and Awesome Feather (who simply has yet to know how to lose).
I'm trying to tell my fellow Brits this is the race if it stands up.
What a great field. You can make a case for a number of horses, including my favorite Love and Pride. But a win by Awesome Feather would be pretty nice.
This gave me chills, Brian. You know I'm a huge Feather fan, and I would love nothing more than to see her walk all over the Ladies' Classic field.
Aside from both being undefeated and champions, Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia are trying to become the first horse to win the BC Juvenile Fillies and the BC Ladies Classic/Distaff.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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