ARCADIA, Calif. (April 2, 2016)–Longshot Thess Is Awesome stunned an on-track crowd of 13,724 in winning Saturday’s Grade I, $100,000 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Award Stakes for Arabian-bred older horses by 1 ¼ lengths over heavily favored Paddy’s Day while covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:54.75. On the lead gate to wire under Travis Wales and trained by Lynn Ashby, Thess Is Awesome reversed a 38 length defeat at the hands of the favorite on March 5 to win at odds of 46-1.
“He’s never shown his true potential,” said Wales. “I was waiting for his day, the day when he could challenge the best. Today was that day and he loves Santa Anita’s track. He was comfortable on the lead and he just opened up from there.”
The fourth-longest shot in a field of 10, Thess Is Awesome paid $94.20, $20.80 and $8.00. Owned by Cre-Run Enterprises, LLC, the 6-year-old Virginia-bred horse notched his fifth win from 13 starts, and with the winner’s share of $49,500, he increased his career earnings to $118,881.
“He had some bad habits,” said Ashby. “He would duck in and duck out…I’m so proud of him. There must be a lot of angels here today. This is wonderful.”
Off at 4-5, Paddy’s Day was third, three lengths off the winner turning for home, but couldn’t get the job done under Kelsi Purcell as he finished a head in front of Easter Man. Paddy’s Day, who had over $72,000 bet to win on him, paid $3.00 and $2.20.
Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Easter Man was second turning for home and tired late to finish third. Off at 6-1, he paid $3.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 25.12, 51.03, 1:18.56 and 1:47.22.