ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2016)—With the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita looming on Nov. 5, superstar California Chrome, North America’s all-time earnings leader with $13,252,650, towers over six rivals in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes at 1 1/8 miles at The Great Race Place.
Fresh off a smashing five length score in the Grade I Pacific Classic at 1 ¼ miles Aug. 20, California Chrome has won five races in a row, most notably the $10 million Dubai World Cup three starts back on March 26.
CALIFORNIA CHROME: Trained by Art Sherman throughout his remarkable 23-race career, the 5-year-old California-bred horse by Lucky Pulpit began his most recent win skein with a facile 1 ¼ length win in the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 9, his fourth win from seven overall starts in Arcadia. A winner of the 2014 Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies, “Chrome,” who was voted Horse of the Year in 2014, is a racing rarity on many accounts, including the fact he is a full horse competing at racing’s highest levels at age five. Blessed with incredible natural speed and stamina, regular rider Victor Espinoza declared “California Chrome is the best horse I have ever ridden,” following his victory in the Pacific Classic—a very large statement indeed considering Espinoza guided American Pharoah to a Triple Crown triumph and Breeders’ Cup Classic honors in 2015. Owned by Taylor Made Farm and Perry Martin’s California Chrome, LLC, the striking chestnut is now 23-14-3-1 overall.
DORTMUND: A winner of the 2015 Santa Anita Derby, he made California Chrome “run” two starts back when second, beaten a half length in the mile and one sixteenth San Diego Handicap July 23. However, Dortmund was never a threat to “Chrome” in their next encounter, when third, beaten 7 ¼ lengths in the Pacific Classic. Trained by Bob Baffert, he’ll be ridden for a second time by Rafael Bejarano and can be expected to menace anyone desirous of the early lead. A massive 4-year-old colt by Big Brown, Dortmund will be making his third start of 2016. Owned by Kaleem Shah, Dortmund is 12-8-1-2 with earnings of $1,872,480.
HOPPERTUNITY: Also conditioned by Baffert, the 5-year-old by Any Given Saturday is enjoying a solid year, as he’s banked more than $1.4 million from five starts, the most recent a well beaten fourth behind California Chrome in the Pacific Classic. A workmanlike Grade I performer, he’ll be facing “Chrome” for the fourth time this year, having run third in the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes Jan. 9, third in the Dubai World Cup March 26 and the aforementioned fourth place finish in the Pacific Classic. Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Hoppertunity has three wins from 11 starts at Santa Anita and is 21-5-6-4 overall with earnings of $2,962,675.
THE GRADE I AWESOME AGAIN STAKES IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS
Race 7 of (of 11) Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PST
1. California Chrome—Victor Espinoza—125
2. Dortmund—Rafael Bejarano—121
3. Hoppertunity—Flavien Prat—121
4. Win the Space—Gary Stevens—121
5. Soi Phet—Kent Desormeaux—121
6. El Huerfano—Martin Pedroza—121
7. Hard Aces—Santiago Gonzalez—121
First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For scratches, late changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.