ARCADIA, Calif. (April 26, 2014)–Full of run with Joe Talamo into and around the far turn, Richard Kritzski’s homebred Awesome Return slingshotted three-wide off the turn for home and prevailed by three quarters of a length in Saturday’s $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for Golden State Series eligible 3-year-olds, getting 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.88.
Trained by Mike Puype, Awesome Return was a comfortable fifth in a field of eight leaving the half mile pole and when Talamo called upon him going to the quarter pole, he roared past Pray Hard and Aotearoa in short order and gamely withstood a late challenge from runner-up Patriots Rule.
“I really didn’t think I’d be that close, but they were going pretty slow up front,” said Talamo, who registered his third win of the day. “His workouts have been unbelievable. We just had a perfect trip and I found an opening at the quarter pole and he did the rest…What makes him so good is he has that big turn of foot and in turf races, you definitely need that to get to certain spots.”
Off at 4-1, Awesome Return got his first stakes win and paid $10.20, $5.40 and $3.40. Out of the Mr. Broad Blade mare Awesome Broad, Awesome Return picked up his second win from six starts and with the winner’s share of $137,500, he more than tripled his earnings to $201,108.
“Perfect ride, perfect trip!” said Puype. “I was almost worried when he hit the front because he can play around, he’s done that each time he’s run. He’s a talented colt with a bright future but he still had to put it all together today. I couldn’t be happier with the way he performed today.
“I’d like to keep him on the turf. There’s a race up at Golden Gate in the Cal-bred series that we’ll probably look at. We’ll just go from there.”
Owner/breeder Kritzski, who works at a BMW dealership in Santa Monica, currently owns seven horses.
“This is my biggest win,” he said. “We’ve got Mr. Broad Blade standing at Magali (Farms, in Santa Ynez) and this is really exciting.”
Ridden by Fernando Perez and off at 5-1, Patriots Rule was last going into the far turn and mounting a menacing rally, finishing second, three quarters of a length in front of Alert Bay and Tyler Baze.
“I was excited to get him to the outside and make a big run today, but the other horses were running well,” said Perez. “Awesome Return won easy, but my horse ran good as well.”
Patriots Rule paid $6.80 and $4.20.
Off at 4-1, Alert Bay, who was stretching out off of a 6 ½ furlong win on the main track in the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes April 5, sat close to a fast pace and kicked nicely under Tyler Baze when clear a furlong out, finishing third, a half length in front of 3-2 favorite Tamarando.
Alert Bay paid $3.60 to show.
Next to last a quarter mile from home, Tamarando appeared to be on the move with Rafael Bejarano turning for home but flattened out in the drive.
The Grade III Wilshire Stakes for fillies and mares three and up at one mile on turf will highlight a nine-race card at Santa Anita on Sunday. First post time is at 1 p.m. and admission gates will open at 11 a.m.