Live Oak Plantation's homebred Awesome Slew was very impressive in Monday's G3 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx, drawing away to win by seven lengths over a capacity field of 13 other sophomores. The son of Awesome Again and Paco Lopez took the lead from the outside gate and never relinquished it, completing the 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:42.92 for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr.
Awesome Slew left the starting gate the widest of 14 in the race, but was quick enough to make the lead before the first turn, drawing away by a full length and moving immediately to the inside rail. Though he covered the first quarter in a sharp :23.0, Lopez was able to give Awesome Slew a breather in the second quarter, covering the half in :47 3/5. He was pressured by Abiding Star down the backstretch, with Wild About Deb just a couple lengths behind in fifth.
Entering the far turn, Lopez gave Awesome Slew a bit more rein and the colt responded enthusiastically, drawing away from his foes by a full three lengths. Wild About Deb gave chase from second, but turning for home Awesome Slew looked like he was out for gallop. At the eighth pole Awesome Slew had an eight-length lead, and Lopez eased him up before the wire to cross it seven lengths in front of Wild About Deb. Seeking the Soul nosed out Sticksstatelydude for third.
Bred in Florida, Awesome Slew broke his maiden on first asking at Monmouth Park, leading Plesa to run him in the G3 Sanford at Saratoga, where he finished a respectable fourth. Returning in 2016, Awesome Slew won an allowance at Monmouth before finishing third in the G3 Pegasus, then sixth in the Haskell. Overall, his record is three wins from six starts, with earnings of nearly $250,000.
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