Awesome Gem retired: won graded stakes over five seasons

by | 09.21.2012 | 1:15pm

Awesome Gem, a 9-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again who won graded stakes over five different racing seasons from 2007-2012, has been retired, according to Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds, the partnership that campaigned the horse.

Finley said trainer Craig Dollase called with the bad news that filling was detected in the area of his left front suspensory ligament after a routine gallop at Betfair Hollywood Park. He had been preparing for a race at Fairplex Park.

A winner of 11 of 52 starts, with 15 seconds and three thirds and earnings of $2,881,370, Awesome Gem won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup in 2010, along with five other graded stakes: the 2007 G2 San Fernando; 2009 G2 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap; 2011 G3 Longacres Mile Handicap; 2011 G3 Lone Star Park Handicap; and 2012 G3 Berkeley Handicap. He raced on both coasts, the Midwest, and in Hong Kong, competing on dirt, turf, and synthetic surfaces at 13 different racetracks.

Awesome Gem also raced in four consecutive Breeders' Cup races, his best showing a third-place finish behind Horse of the Year Curlin in the 2007 Classic at Monmouth Park.

“He's been a rock star for us,” Finley said. “Awesome Gem took us around the world, to Hong Kong and all over the United States. I don't think there was more than one or two times where at the top of the stretch you said he had no shot to hit the board. This horse gave us a lot of great thrills.”

Out of the Pentilicus mare, Piano, Awesome Gem was bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm, Catesby Clay, and Peter Callahan. West Point purchased him for $150,000 at the 2005 Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training from Crupi's New Castle Farm, which pinhooked him out of the previous year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale, where he was sold by Bluewater Sales for the same price.

Finley said the suspensory problem was the first physical setback of any consequence Awesome Gem has had since he was a 2-year-old, when he had surgery on both front ankles. “He's such a beautiful and efficient mover with great biomechanics, I never really thought about him getting injured in a race,” Finley said. “The fact that he stayed sound as long as he did shows absolutely what kind of horsemen Craig Dollase and his team are.  We paired him with a great trainer and he made magic for us for seven years, and for that we're indebted to him.

“We're all competitive in the horse business and we are all looking or good horses. Try to envision what's it meant to be around a horse like this that's competed at the top level for seven straight years. It's been very, very special for our group of clients.”

Finley didn't know immediately where Awesome Gem would spend his retirement years.

“Rest assured, he's going to be under our care in one form or another for the rest of his life,” Finley said. 

  • Ida Lee

    I was just thinking about Awesome Gem and wondering what he was up to and hoping he would be retiring soon.  My prayers have been answered.  I have always said not only is he “Awesome” but he’s a “Gem”. I have the most charming photo of him “smiling” at the camera which I cherish. I will remember this special boy with fondness for the rest of my life. I know he is greatly loved and will have a wonderful retirement. Thanks for the memories Big Boy!!

  • Hadrianmarcus

    Have a great retirement. You were one of my favorites.

  • Ida Lee

    I was just thinking about Awesome Gem and wondering what he was up to and hoping he would be retiring soon.  My prayers have been answered.  I have always said not only is he “Awesome” but he’s a “Gem”. I have the most charming photo of him “smiling” at the camera which I cherish. I will remember this special boy with fondness for the rest of my life. I know he is greatly loved and will have a wonderful retirement. Thanks for the memories Big Boy!!

  • Hadrianmarcus

    Have a great retirement. You were one of my favorites.

  • Really????

    I’m so happy to hear this news.   It has made my day.  He has worked hard enough in the past 9 years.   Thanking God that he has retired safe and sound.  Happy Retirement to you Awesome Gem you Awesome boy you.

  • Really????

    I’m so happy to hear this news.   It has made my day.  He has worked hard enough in the past 9 years.   Thanking God that he has retired safe and sound.  Happy Retirement to you Awesome Gem you Awesome boy you.

  • stillriledup

    Its unfortunate that this ‘rock star’ needed to have filling in his leg before they retired him.

    I’m not sure why you would want to run a horse like this at Fairplex, a great horse like this deserves better than that.

    Hopefully more owners of high profile horses will retire them sound and not have to wait until ‘something happens’ that forces retirement.

    • RayPaulick

      Take a break, pal. You’re wound up a little too tight. 

  • stillriledup

    Its unfortunate that this ‘rock star’ needed to have filling in his leg before they retired him.

    I’m not sure why you would want to run a horse like this at Fairplex, a great horse like this deserves better than that.

    Hopefully more owners of high profile horses will retire them sound and not have to wait until ‘something happens’ that forces retirement.

  • RayPaulick

    Take a break, pal. You’re wound up a little too tight. 

  • Pinky

    Gonna miss you Gemmy. Thanks for the memories.

  • Pinky

    Gonna miss you Gemmy. Thanks for the memories.

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