LAUREL, MD – Colts Neck Stables’ Awesome Speed made a successful and lucrative return to Laurel Park on Saturday, winning the $100,000 Federico Tesio and earning an automatic berth in the 141st Preakness Stakes (G1) May 21 at Pimlico Race Course.
The 35th running of the 1 1/8-mile Tesio for 3-year-olds, regarded as Maryland’s local prep for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, was the first of two stakes on Laurel’s 10-race program, followed by the $100,000 Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies.
For the first time this year, the Tesio was a ‘Win and You’re In’ race for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the Preakness.
“It’s pretty good spacing, that’s the main thing. We’d have enough time. I think it would be good,” winning trainer Alan Goldberg said by telephone. “We’ll have to see how the Kentucky Derby shakes out and all that and see what’s what. It was great and I’m glad we won it.”
Favored at 3-5 in a field of six, Awesome Speed finished a nose behind Governor Malibu after leading from the gate into deep stretch, but was promoted to the victory following Governor Malibu’s disqualification to second for interference in the final sixteenth of a mile.
The winning time was 1:53.31 over a good main track. I Came to Party, Flash McCaul, D T Goodie and Never Gone South completed the order of finish. Marengo Road was scratched.
“It would have been a tough beat,” said Goldberg, who won the 2000 Tesio with Runspastum. “To be honest I was watching the TV and I didn’t see [Governor Malibu] get in but you could see it on the head-on [replay] pretty clearly. I think we probably would have won but when the horse hit him it made him change leads and he kind of lost his momentum.”
Ridden for the first time by Jevian Toledo, Awesome Speed broke sharply from post 4 and set comfortable fractions of :25.60 for the quarter-mile, :50.93 for the half and 1:15.79 after six furlongs under slight pressure on his outside from Never Gone South.
Governor Malibu and Horacio Karamanos raced three wide down the backstretch and began to launch a bid rounding the far turn as Never Gone South dropped back. Awesome Speed dug in on the inside as Governor Malibu challenged down the middle of the track, then veered in several paths and bumped Awesome Speed after Karamanos switched the whip to his right hand.
“He claimed foul and then there was the inquiry. He thought [Governor Malibu] was coming down,” Goldberg said. “He thought he would have won the race if he hadn’t been hit.”
Bred by Allen Poindexter and Adena Springs, Awesome Speed is now three-for-three lifetime at Laurel, having broken his maiden last October prior to winning the James F. Lewis III Stakes in November.
Earlier this winter at Gulfstream Park, Awesome Speed won the Mucho Macho Man Stakes Jan. 2 and finished fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) after being bumped hard and floated wide shortly after the start. The Tesio was his second start around two turns.
“It’s a good option now; at least he got [the distance],” Goldberg said. “I don’t know if the horse is one of the best horses but at least he showed he’ll get two turns with this bunch and I guess with a free run in the Preakness we might take it.”
Source: Laurel Park