nice to see an old friend re-emerge from a much too lengthy time away. Yesterday,
at Belmont Park, the racing world was treated to a very welcome return of one
of 2010’s best and most promising horses. It was eleven months to the day since
Awesome Feather rolled home over R Heat Lightning in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to complete a
season of perfection. Now the champion is back.
Last year's best
two-year-old filly, Awesome Feather (Awesome of Course – Precious Feather, by Gone
West) made a triumphant return to the races with a facile 2 length score in the
seven furlong Le Slew Stakes, as a popular 1-4 favorite. Ridden by her familiar
pilot, Jeffrey Sanchez, Awesome Feather chased a fast pace set by Flying Train,
before swinging into action on the far turn. Quickly taking over as the field
straightened for the stretch run, the race would not be without a few anxious
strides, however; as the New York Bred stakes winner, and Belmont loving filly,
Sentimental Lass posed a menacing threat on the outside. Awesome Feather did
what champions do, though, and held the challenge at a safe distance to the
wire. Final time for the seven-eighths was a solid 1:22.76.
long layoff, the undefeated champion was making her first start for owner Frank Stronach and trainer Chad Brown since she was purchased for $2.3 million at
Fasig-Tipton’s fall sale only a few days after her Breeders’ Cup success. Unfortunately,
Awesome Feather then developed a bowed tendon which forced the postponement of
her debut as a three-year-old. Her new trainer reflected on both her time away
and her prospects for the future.
a special horse, she's got special owners," said Brown. "The Stronach
family, they were presented a difficult situation. I'll tell you, they handled
it with class and optimism.
never complained one day about it," he added. "They just told me,
‘Look forward. Don't look back. Keep the filly.' She stayed in my care the
whole time. She never went to the farm.
“I was a
little worried early because coming off this type of layoff I didn’t want to
crank the screws too much in the morning and never get to this day.”
dug in - she has the heart of a champion. It might have not been a stellar
group, but she got the job done. I think she'll be better off for it in the
long run, fitness-wise."
perfect seven for seven and winner of $1,531,736, it would seem that the future
for this talented filly is very bright. Sure yesterday’s field was modest by
her standards, but the performance and time by the winner was just what the
doctor ordered for everyone rooting to see the same filly that we came to like
so much back in 2010. I’m happy to report that Awesome Feather is back, and I
can’t wait to see what she does next.