Winstar Farm's favored Awesome Humor, seeking to regain her tremendous 2-year-old form, registered her first stakes win of 2003, holding off Cloakof Vagueness by three quarters of a length in Friday night's $300,000 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) at muddy Hoosier Park.
Ridden by Robby Albarado, Awesome Humor, a daughter of Distorted Humor, covered the 1 1/16-mile test in 1:45 3/5. Cloakof Vagueness, who rallied from 5 1/2 lengths behind down the lane for jockey Edgar Prado, was 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Shot Gun Favorite, who edged Double Scoop by a neck. Ten started.
Awesome Humor, undefeated in four starts at 2, including a victory in the Spinaway (gr. I) at Saratoga, had recorded consecutive second-place finishes in the Delaware Oaks (gr. III), the Alabama (gr. I) and the Turfway Park Breeders' Cup (gr. III) this year for trainer Elliott Walden.
Awesome Humor broke well and was rated on the inside through the first turn. On the backstretch, Albarado guided her to the outside and she soon was challenging pacesetting Youcan'ttakeme going into the final turn. She edged clear at the top of the stretch and opened up a commanding lead at the eighth pole before drifting out late under left-handed whipping. She had enough left to hold off Cloakof Vagueness, who was closing in after making a sweeping five-wide move into the stretch. Shot Gun Favorite, ridden by Brice Blanc, also made a late bid to rally past the second choice, Double Scoop, ridden by Pat Day.
The Kentucky-bred Awesome Humor earned $184,140 for her sixth win in 10 starts, pushing her career bankroll over $800,000.
The 6-5 favorite paid $4.60, $2.80 and $2.80. Cloakof Vagueness returned $5.40 and $4.60. Shot Gun Favorite's show price was $7.40.
Souris, Sue's Good News, Harbor Blues, Youcan'ttakeme, Saratoga Humor and Star of Atticus completed the order of finish. Golden Marlin and Trusty Cat were scratched.