AWESOME AGAIN IS ONE OF FIVE BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACES SATURDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 27, 2017)–Bob Baffert’s Cupid, Phil D’Amato’s Midnight Storm and Reade Baker’s Breaking Lucky head a strong field of eight in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. For 3-year-olds and up at a mile and one eighth, the Awesome Again will serve as a prep for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 4.
A rising star in Baffert’s formidable arsenal, Cupid, a winner of the Grade I, 1 ¼ miles Gold Cup at Santa Anita two starts back on May 27, seeks his third consecutive win and will be handled by regular rider Rafael Bejarano.
A close fourth on turf as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap Aug. 20, Midnight Storm transitions back to the main track as his connections ponder a possible run in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Third to top rated Gun Runner in his last two Grade I starts, the Whitney at Saratoga on Aug. 5 and the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs June 17, Breaking Lucky will be making his West Coast debut as he preps for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
CUPID: A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Tapit, he overcame trouble at the start to take the one mile Harry F. Brubaker Aug. 23, defeating Curlin Rules by three quarters of a length as the 2-5 favorite. Owned by Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith, Cupid, who was a three-time graded stakes winner in 2016, will be making his third start of the year and looms strictly the horse to beat. Perfect in two starts this year, Cupid is 11-6-1-0 overall with earnings of $1,683,873.
MIDNIGHT STORM: A 6-year-old full horse by Pioneerof the Nile, he became a five-time graded stakes winner on turf for D’Amato dating back to his win in the 2014 Del Mar Derby. With his turf resume highlighted by victory here in the Grade I Shoemaker Mile in June 2016, it appeared Midnight Storm would race for the remainder of his career on grass, but D’Amato pointed him to the main track to finish up 2016 and he responded with a resounding 7 ¾ length score in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes on Nov. 27. He was subsequently victorious in the Grade II San Pasqual here Jan. 1; a close second behind Shaman Ghost in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap March 11; third in the Oaklawn Handicap April 15, fourth, beaten six lengths by Cupid in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita May 27, and most recently fourth, beaten 1 ½ lengths on turf in the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap Aug. 20. Bred in part by Alex Venneri and owned by A Venneri Racing, Inc. and Little Red Feather Racing, Midnight Storm is 25-10-4-2 overall with earnings of $1,723,110.
BREAKING LUCKY: Off at 12-1 and attentive to the early pace, he had to settle for third, 6 ½ lengths behind superstar Gun Runner in the Grade I Whitney Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 5. Beaten just a neck in a pair of races, the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga in September, 2016 and the Grade II New Orleans Handicap on April 1 of this year, the 5-year-old Ontario Canadian-bred son of Lookin At Lucky has been winless in his last eight starts but won’t be facing the likes of Gun Runner on Saturday. Headquartered at Toronto’s Woodbine, Breaking Lucky is owned by Gunpowder Farms, LLC and West Point Thoroughbreds. He’s 10-1-2-4 on natural dirt and is 21-3-5-5 overall with earnings of $1,122,276.
THE FIELD FOR THE GRADE I AWESOME AGAIN WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 10 of 11 Approximate post time 5 p.m. PT
- Win the Space–Joe Talamo–122
- Dortmund–Gary Stevens–122
- Midnight Storm–Tyler Baze–122
- Curlin Rules–Flavien Prat–122
- Breaking Lucky–Mike Smith–122
- Mubtaahij–Drayden Van Dyke–122
- Donworth–Mario Gutierrez–122
- Cupid–Rafael Bejarano–126
First post time for an 11-race card Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For more racing information, please visit santaanita.com.