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Awesome Feather Will Train Up to BC at Belmont

Awesome Feather wins 2011 Le Slew.
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Undefeated champion Awesome Feather returned from her victory in Thursday’s Nasty Storm overnight stakes in fine fettle, reported trainer Chad Brown, and will train up to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic on November 2 at Santa Anita.


“She was good this morning,” said Brown of the 4-year-old filly, who earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure for her 11 ¼-length victory in the Nasty Storm. “She was definitely sharp off a layoff, but switched off nicely. They were rolling up front; the pace was fast enough where she wouldn’t necessarily be pulling.”


Brown said that owner Frank Stronach obviously was very happy at Thursday’s result.


“He said, ‘Great job, just do whatever you think is right with the horse. It would be wonderful if you could make Santa Anita, but put the filly first,’” said Brown. “So I’m going to continue to do that. Hopefully, she keeps herself in good order and is nice and healthy and sound and we’ll bring her to Santa Anita.”


The 2010 juvenile filly champion had been training at Saratoga Race Course but will remain at Belmont to prepare for the 1 1/8-mile Ladies’ Classic, said Brown.


“She’s trained well here – she trained for the [Grade 1] Gazelle here – so she knows her way around,” he said. “With the weather, I’m going to leave her here. It’s a little warmer here.”


Looking ahead to the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational on Super Saturday, September 29, Brown will run both Dream Peace, second in her American debut behind Winter Memories in the Grade 1 Diana for trainer Robert Collet, and Zagora, who rebounded from a third in the Diana to set a Saratoga course record in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa presented by Jose Cuervo.


“Zagora came out of the race really well,” he said. “She ran fast, which always concerns you, but she’s had plenty of time. She’s moving so smooth. I brought her down to Belmont and I’m very impressed with the way she’s been galloping down here. She’s a filly that’s been pretty consistent since I’ve had her, but with all these horses, as consistent as they look in their races, in their training they have good stretches and so-so stretches. Right now, she’s moving as good as I’ve ever seen her move. You get a feel whether they’re doing good, or doing real good, and she’s doing real good.”


Unlike Dream Peace, who ran in five straight races at the Flower Bowl distance prior to the Diana, Zagora will be making her first start beyond 1 1/8 miles since a second-place finish in the Grade 2 New York in June, 2011.


“She can go 1 ¼ miles,” said Brown. “She’s done it over in Europe, she’s done it here. The question is, can she run her best race at 1 ¼ miles? Is she a Grade 1 horse at 1 ¼ miles? After the [Ballston Spa] I was leaning towards the Spinster [Grade 1, 1 1/8 miles, Keeneland]. But when I watch her moving, I think she’s absolutely in career form right now, physically, so that I’m willing to try 1 ¼ miles again because she is doing so well. The distance of the Spinster looks appealing, but I’d rather take my chances on the turf and go a little farther than she wants to go than go for the unknown on the Polytrack.”


Brown added that Center Divider, the Grade 1 Man o’ War runner-up who most recently was seventh in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational, will skip the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational to await the Grade 3 Knickerbocker on Saturday, October 13.




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