LEXINGTON, KY – Awesome Slew rallied from next-to-last in the nine-horse field at the head of the stretch to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in the Grade 3, $250,000 Commonwealth over favored A. P. Indian.
Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Joel Rosario, Awesome Slew covered the 7 furlongs in 1:22.31. It was the second Commonwealth victory for Rosario, who won the 2012 renewal on Lonesome Street.
Limousine Liberal led the field through fractions of :22.97 and :46.21 but yielded the lead in the upper stretch to A. P. Indian, who succumbed to Awesome Slew’s charge in the final 1/16 of a mile.
The victory was worth $150,000 and increased Awesome Slew’s earnings to $540,420 with a record of 11-4-1-3. It was the second graded stakes victory for the 4-year-old homebred son of Awesome Again out of the Seeking the Gold mare Slewfoundmoney.
Defending champion Ami’s Flatter finished another 1 3/4 lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Redesdale, Fish Trappe Road, Tale of S’avall, Yockey’s Warrior, and Riding in the Wind.
Awesome Slew returned $8.20, $4, and $2.80. A. P. Indian, ridden by Joe Bravo, brought back $3.20 and $2.80, while Limousine Liberal paid $3.80 to show under Jose Ortiz.
Trainer Mark Casse, Awesome Slew: “I want to say thanks to (owner) Charlotte (Weber) for giving us this opportunity. (Awesome Slew) trained really good. We went back and looked and thought maybe he was making a big move in the middle and then flattening out, so we looked at cutting him back. Our goal is the Met Mile (Metropolitan Handicap on June 10). I said to Mrs. Weber, ‘We can either go from here to the Alysheba (1 1/16 miles on May 5 at Churchill Downs) if this is too short, or go to the Churchill Downs (on May 6 at 7 furlongs).”
Jockey Joel Rosario, Awesome Slew: “Very good trip. I knew they were going to get away from me a little bit. I rode this horse last time a little bit off the pace, and he just took his time. He had a tremendous finish today. Turning for home, he was really rolling. I was really happy when he started moving up and kept going.”
Jockey Joe Bravo, A. P. Indian: “We ran second today and that really does hurt, but I’m so ecstatic to see this horse come back in his first race since (being placed third in) the Breeders’ Cup (Sprint in November) and make such a big effort. I’m so glad he came back healthy and strong, and he galloped out great. I can’t wait to see his next effort.”
Jockey Jose Ortiz, Limousine Liberal: “He broke well and it looked like nobody wanted the lead, so I went ahead and took it. He went pretty easy and he was ready to go. By the 3/8 pole, I knew I was under pressure. He is a nice horse and he fought as hard as he could and kept going.”
Jockey Florent Geroux, Ami’s Flatter: “I had a pretty good trip overall. I was stalking the horses in front of me and he was trying to make a nice move, but when the winner (Awesome Slew) came past me on the turn, it discouraged my horse a little bit. The winner was running too fast for him, and it took him by surprise. But he ran great and was flying to get fourth at the end.”