Live Oak Plantation's homebred Awesome Slew got his elusive second graded stakes win on Saturday, closing like a freight train from the back of the pack to cross the wire 1 1/2 lengths in front of Grade 1 winner A. P. Indian. A 4-year-old son of Awesome Again, Awesome Slew was ridden to victory by Joel Rosario. The Mark Casse trainee covered seven furlongs over Keeneland's fast main track in 1:22.31.
“I want to say thanks to (owner) Charlotte (Weber) for giving us this opportunity,” Casse said. “(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-G1 on June 10). I said to Mrs. Weber, 'We can either go from here to the Alysheba-G2 (1 1/16 miles on May 5 at Churchill Downs) if this is too short or go to the Churchill Downs-G2 (on May 6 at 7 furlongs).”
Yockey's Warrior jumped out to the early lead, but before the field had left the chute to join up with the main track, Limousine Liberal snuck up along the rail to take over that lead. He was a half-length in front of Yockey's Warrior, with Redesdale tracking from third. Widest of all was A. P. Indian down the backstretch, nearly four paths off the rail, and Awesome Slew was second-last in the early going. Through fractions of :22.97 an :46.21, Limousine Liberal worked hard to keep in front of Yockey's Warrior.
Approaching the far turn, A. P. Indian came three-wide to mount his challenge on the leaders, but Awesome Slew was coming on strong from the rear of the field. Just as A. P. Indian cleared Limousine Liberal nearing the sixteenth pole, Awesome Slew used his giant strides to run down the leader, drawing away to win by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire. A. P. Indian had to settle for second, and Limousine Liberal was able to hold third. Ami's Flatter was fourth.
“Very good trip,” Rosario said. “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.”
Bred in Florida by his owners, Awesome Slew is out of a Seeking the Gold mare. He has only been in the care of trainer Mark Casse for one prior start, and finished a strong second in the Hardacre Mile at Gulfstream Park. Overall, the sppedy colt has a record of four wins from 11 career starts, with earnings of over $500,000.
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