Stronach Stable's Something Awesome rallied from off a contested early pace to score a narrow victory in the $250,000 General George (G3) at Laurel Park, earning the first graded-stakes triumph of his career in the seven-furlong sprint for older horses, one of six stakes on the Winter Carnival program headlined by the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie (G2).
The 7-year-old gelding's triumph provided an emotional moment for trainer Jose Corrales, who has been training for Frank Stronach's stable for eight years.
“These people have been so great for me. They gave me the opportunity of my life,” Corrales said. “I've been waiting to win a [big] race for them. In stake races, I've been getting beat a neck, a head.”
Something Awesome, the 3-1 favorite, won the General George by a neck under jockey Elvis Trujillo, Corrales' nephew whose career has taken a decided upturn since his recent relocation to the Maryland circuit.
“He had some rough things that we all go through in life and I brought him here with me and he's worked with me. He's a good rider and well known,” Corrales said. “To give him this opportunity is great. I'm happy for him.”
Rated off the early pace set by Cowboy Mz, who set fractions of 22.73 (seconds) and 45.90 for the first half-mile on a sloppy track, Something Awesome circled the field on the turn before launching a successful stretch drive.
“I had a perfect trip. 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,” Trujillo said. “I saw three, four horses in front and I sat in behind, gave it time and in the stretch this guy was just flying.”
Fellowship also rallied from far back to finish second, a half-length ahead of It's the Journey. Awesome Banner, the second choice at 3-1, finished fourth after pressing the early pace.
Something Awesome ran seven furlongs in 1:23.31 to win his third race in four starts since being sent to Corrales. The Ontario-bred son of Awesome Again has been competing on turf and synthetic surfaces at Woodbine.
“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,'” Corrales said. “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. I think it's the surface change.”
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