IT’S DAVID VS. GOLIATH AS LONGSHOT MONGOLIAN GROOM DEFEATS MCKINZIE BY 2 ¼ LENGTHS IN GRADE I, $300,000 AWESOME AGAIN STAKES
RACE IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACE QUALIFIER
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2019)–In the money in three graded stakes assignments this year but winless in his last seven starts, 25-1 longshot Mongolian Groom held a one length advantage over heavily favored McKinzie mid-way around the far turn and simply outran him through the lane to win Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes by a widening 2 ¼ lengths Saturday at Santa Anita. With Abel Cedillo picking up his second graded stakes win of the day, both Cedillo and owner/trainer Enebish Ganbat registered their first Grade I wins at Santa Anita as Ganbat’s 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Hightail got a mile and one eighth in 1:49.27.
Ridden aggressively, Mongolian Groom went to the lead and was in control throughout. Pressured to his outside by longshot Isotherm up the backside, Mongolian Groom got some separation leaving the three furlong pole and although Mike Smith was trying to engage with McKinzie shortly thereafter, it was Mongolian Groom who was firmly in charge.
Most recently fifth, beaten 4 ¼ lengths in the Grade I Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 31, Mongolian Groom paid $52.80, $8.80 and $3.00.
With the Awesome Again being a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, Mongolian Groom would’ve earned a fees-paid berth into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2, but he is not Breeders’ Cup nominated and would therefore have to be supplemented by his owner.
Out of the Dynaformer mare Bourbonesque, Mongolian Groom is now 16-3-2-3 and with the winner’s share of $180,000, now has earnings of $579,141.
Trained by Bob Baffert and the early favorite to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, McKinzie was second, 5 ¼ lengths clear of Higher Power. Off at 1-5, he paid $2.10 and $2.10.
The second choice with Flavien Prat up at 3-1, Higher Power paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.99, 48.29, 1:12.07 and 1:36.95.