LAUREL, MD – It was a particularly special Saturday for Frank Stronach, whose homebred Something Awesome necked out victory over Fellowship in a snowy edition of the Grade 3, $250,000 General George Stakes at the Stronach-owned Laurel Park.
Sent from post 6 as the lukewarm 3/1 favorite under Elvis Trujillo, Something Awesome sat patiently off the pace down the backside while Cowboy Mz set initial splits of :22.73 and :45.90. Circling the far turn four-wide, Something Awesome steadily gained down the front stretch along the outside of several horses, and the Jose Corrales trainee was able to just take the lead in the shadow of the wire, winning in a final time of 1:23.31 for the 7-furlong event over a sloppy course.
“I had a perfect trip,” Trujillo said. “In the post parade, I could feel my horse would like the slop. Two races before, he won in the slop, and today, he felt so good. I saw three, four horses in front, and I sat in behind, gave it time, and in the stretch, this guy was just flying.”
After closely stalking the pace throughout much of the race, It’s the Journey emerged onto the front stretch in prime position to make a run for the lead but ultimately flattened out, finishing a 1/2-length behind Fellowship in third. Awesome Banner had a similar trip to It’s the Journey and matched his result, fading down the stretch and necking out fourth over Cowboy Mz. Grasshoppin, Ballivor, and Sonny Inspired completed the order of finish. Great Stuff and Do Share were both scratched.
Something Awesome’s victory improved his record to 22-7-2-6 with career earnings of $341,051. The 7-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again had previously been competing over the turf and synthetic surfaces at Woodbine.
The win happened to be a family affair that stretched even beyond Stronach’s multiple ties: Trujillo is Corrales’ nephew.
“These people (Stronach Stables) have been so great for me,” Corrales said. “They gave me the opportunity of my life. I’ve been waiting to win a (big) race for them. In stake races, I’ve been getting beat a neck, a head. I talked to Mr. Stronach. I said, ‘When are you going to send a horse that will win?’ He said, ‘You might have it in your stable.’
“They sent me this horse. He’s old, but he came here and trained like a good horse. To me, he’s the best horse I’ve ever trained.”
Something Awesome returned $8.20 to win, $4 to place, and $2.80 to show. Fellowship brought back $5.20 to place and $3.40 to show, while It’s the Journey paid $3.20 to show.