Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

A Precious Gem, isn’t he Awesome?

Posted by Brian Appleton on June 1, 2011

Tizway took the Met Mile by storm Monday, posting a spectacular winning time of 1:32.90, less than 1/10 of a second off the stakes record and just 3/5 of a second off of the track record, the fastest clocking since 1996. The Metropolitan Handicap was the first Grade 1 win for the 6-year-old son of Tiznow. For an excellent recap of Tiznow’s Met Mile victory read Joe DePalo’s article on Horse Racing Nation.

Gemstones and jewels are valued according to their rarity and overall quality and if Awesome Gem’s value was to be measured, he would rate pretty high.  The 8-year-old Awesome Again gelding has continually proven to be one of the nation’s most competitive males ever since his third place finish in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr.1) behind Curlin and Hard Spun. On Monday Awesome Gem showed once again just how special he is when he rallied from just off the pace to take the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr.3) at Lone Star Park in Texas, defeating a short but solid field of five.

Breaking from the gates Awesome Gem got away well in fourth position as Lydia’s Last Step went to the lead with Game On Dude less than half a length away in second. Flat Out rode the rail in fourth to the inside of Awesome Gem with Thiskyhasnolimit in last but less than four lengths from the lead. After a slow opening quarter in :24.51 the three back runners strung out behind the two leaders with Awesome Gem just two lengths back, another two in front of Thiskyhasnolimit, now half a length ahead of Flat Out. Entering the far turn Awesome Gem kicked into high gear and made a rapid move two come on even terms with Lydia’s Last Step and Game On Dude. Coming off the turn Awesome Gem easily disposed of a mild rally from Game On Dude and plunged down the stretch for his first win since taking the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10th last year.

At the finish line his margin of victory was just one length, but he was clearly the best. Flat Out lived up to his name, coming flying from dead last and far back in the homestretch to snag second after making up more than seven lengths. Awesome Gem has commanded my respect ever since his game effort in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic when he denied Street Sense third place behind his Triple Crown rivals and I have tried my best to support him in each and every start since then. He has truly proven to be as rare and precious as a gem, one to be treasured and appreciated in this modern age of racing where our best runners are carted off to the breeding shed after one solid season of racing.

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