Will Awesome Feather Soar in Gazelle?

Awesome Feather wins 2011 Le Slew.
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Ten sophomores fillies, including last year’s Champion Two-Year-Old Awesome Feather, will flock together in Saturday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Gazelle, a 1 1/8-mile race that will serve as the final graded stakes of the year at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Awesome Feather, who is unbeaten in seven starts, will be making her second start of 2011 in the Gazelle. Troubled by tendon issues following her victory in the 2010 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, she made a belated 3-year-old debut in the Le Slew overnight stakes on October 5 at Belmont Park, inching away to a 2-length score.


“She’s held up really well and she hasn’t had a bad day of training,” said trainer Chad Brown. “Not one day. I’m excited to see her run around two turns at Aqueduct and see what she can do in a Grade 1.”


Brown trains Awesome Feather for Stronach Stable, who purchased the filly for $2.3 million at auction following her victory in the Breeders’ Cup.


“It would be a nice reward for the Stronachs,” Brown said of a victory in the Gazelle. “They have been patient with this filly and gave me a lot of leeway with her. I just make sure she is 100 percent every day when we go out there, and she has been. It would be nice to reward them for their patience. She’s a really gutsy horse – she just has a great attitude about her.”


Jeffrey Sanchez, who rode Awesome Feather in her previous six races, will make the trip north from Calder Race Course to ride the filly once again in the Gazelle. She’ll leave from post position 7 as the 2-1 morning-line favorite.


Awesome Feather’s nine opponents include three from the barn of Todd Pletcher, who will send out Savvy Supreme, R Gypsy Gold, and Love and Pride.


WinStar Farm’s Savvy Supreme earned her first graded stakes victory two starts back when she captured the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks by 1 ¾ lengths on August 13. Most recently, she stalked the pace and led between calls in the stretch of the Remington Park Oaks on October 16, settling for second after failing to hold off longshot Tourmaline, who prevailed by a half-length.


“Savvy Supreme will probably have a little vacation after this,” said Whit Beckman, assistant to Pletcher. “We’re hopeful with her. She’s been doing great. She had a little of a rough break in Oklahoma; the pace set up a little quick and she got passed at the end.”


Ramon Dominguez will ride Savvy Supreme, the 4-1 third choice on the morning line, from post 6.


R Gypsy Gold and Love and Pride, the respective first- and third-place finishers in the Real Prize overnight stakes on October 27 contested over a sloppy Belmont main track, will meet again in the Gazelle.


The 1 1/16-mile Real Prize was the first stakes victory for R Gypsy Gold, who in June was third in the Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont. The E. Paul Robsham Stables homebred made two starts in entry-level allowances between the Mother Goose and Real Prize, finishing fifth going 1 1/8 miles July 28 at Saratoga Race Course and winning by 4 ¾ lengths traveling one mile September 16 at Belmont.


“She obviously showed she’s an improving filly and doing better with time,” said Beckman. “From the standpoint of her development, she’s heading in the right direction. It will be a question of whether she’ll get [the distance]. She’s bred to do it, and with the way she’s been training lately she’ll be in a good spot.”


R Gypsy Gold will have the services of John Velazquez from post 2 as the 7-2 morning-line second choice.


David and Marylyn Randal’s Love and Pride set the pace in the Real Prize before yielding in the stretch to finish third. She entered the race off a 6 ¾-length romp in the 1 1/8-mile Proud Spell on August 19 at Saratoga and a fifth in the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile Cotillion on October 1 at Parx Racing.


“Love and Pride, when the race sets up right, can go 1 1/8 miles,” said Beckman. “In [the Cotillion] she was chasing Plum Pretty all the way around the racetrack. It never set up right for her. If she gets the trip she wants on the front end, she’ll definitely have a shot.”


Cornelio Velasquez has the assignment aboard Love and Pride, 8-1 on the morning line, from post 8.


Also exiting the Real Prize are Draw It and Miss Valentine, who respectively finished second and fourth. Miss Valentine, a New York-bred, was second to Savvy Supreme in the Monmouth Oaks and defeated Draw It by a nose in the Mom’s Command on September 28 at Belmont.


From post 3 out, the Gazelle field also includes Marion Ravenwood, Bryan’s Jewel, Purple Cat, and Daring Reality.


The field for the Grade 1, $250,000 Gazelle:








Miss Valentine (NY)

J Lezcano


C Clement



R Gypsy Gold (KY)

J R Velazquez


T A Pletcher



Marion Ravenwood (KY)

A Garcia


H G Motion



Bryan's Jewel (KY)

J Pimentel


M Robertson



Draw It (KY)

R Maragh


T Albertrani



Savvy Supreme (KY)

R A Dominguez


T A Pletcher



Awesome Feather (FL)

J Sanchez


C C Brown



Love and Pride (KY)

C H Velasquez


T A Pletcher



Purple Cat (KY)

C P DeCarlo


J P Terranova, II



Daring Reality (KY)

O Castillo


C A Lynch



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