ARCADIA, CA – Rather than send him cross-country for his latest test, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert opted to keep Improbable home for Saturday’s $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
The winner of the Awesome Again will receive an automatic position in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Longines Classic (G1) this fall at Keeneland. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
The Awesome Again is a 1 1/8-mile dirt route open to horses ages 3 and up, with the 2020 edition attracting five runners.
Let’s look at the full field:
#1 Take the One O One – A multiple stakes winner in the California-bred ranks, he steps back up to face graded rivals still seeking a victory at this level. His 2020 resume includes a pair of one-mile dirt route scores against optional claiming rivals that he won in gate-to-wire fashion, so don’t be surprised to see him leading this one early.
#2 Improbable – He reappears on familiar ground, having won the local Hollywood Gold Cup Stakes (G1) in June before shipping to Saratoga and taking the Whitney Stakes (G1). The latter was a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” for the Longines Classic, but despite his ticket already being punched, expect him to continue running at peak level.
#3 Sleepy Eyes Todd – The Charles Town Classic Stakes (G2) champion ships across the country for his first start in the state of California. The Paddy O’Prado colt will have aboard one of the circuit’s best jockeys in Umberto Rispoli, who finished second by just a single victory in the recently-concluded Del Mar summer meet’s jockey standings.
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#4 Midcourt – He won 5 of 6 starts between June 2019 and February 2020, with 2 of those coming in graded stakes, but his recent form tailed off a bit. He was a very game second to Maximum Security in the San Diego Handicap (G2) but couldn’t repeat that same type of effort in the Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) last time out, finishing third.
#5 Maximum Security – He’s won both starts since joining Baffert’s California contingent in different fashion, fighting hard in the San Diego after a five-month layoff and cruising in the Pacific Classic. With just 2 losses (1 via disqualification) on his resume, he’ll be the deserving heavy favorite as he makes his final preparations for the World Championships.
The Awesome Again serves as race 10 and is one of seven stakes on the Saturday card at Santa Anita Park. The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue Sunday at Santa Anita Park with the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (Sprint) and the Zenyatta (Longines Distaff).
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is presented by America’s Best Racing.