Awesomemundo's Big Kick Wins DuPont Distaff
Awesomemundo recovered from a poor start and gamely outdueled Love and Pride in a spirited stretch duel to win the $100,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) by a head May 19 at Pimlico Race Course on the Preakness day undercard.
Trained by Bob Baffert for his wife, Jill, Awesomemundo was sixth in the field of eight after three-quarters of a mile, and was forced to rally four-wide under Mike Smith when entering the stretch. She was trying to run down a game Love and Pride, who took over turning for home and was going well with John Velazquez aboard. Awesomemundo pulled to even terms with Love and Pride in upper stretch but it wasn’t until the final couple jumps that she put her head in front for the victory.
The two horses bumped each other in mid-stretch and Velazquez filed a jockey’s objection that was eventually dismissed by stewards.
“They (Awesomeundo and Love and Pride) came together a little bit because she was gawking around at the crowd, but it wasn’t anything. We had a little trouble leaving, but she proved she’s very talented. She has a beautiful long kick," Smith said."
The final time for 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track was 1:44.70. Love and Pride was 4 1/2 lengths in front of third-place Catch a Thief.
Awesomemundo is a 4-year-old filly by Awesome Again —One Fine Shweetie, by Shuailaan. She was bred in Kentucky by Big Pine Thoroughbreds and Adena Springs.
It was the stakes debut for the dark bay/brown filly. She had won three of her past four races, including a 7 1/2-length score in a Feb. 19 optional claiming race at Santa Anita. This was the first race outside of California in her seven-start career.
Canadian Mistress set the early pace in the DuPont Distaff, going through an opening quarter-mile in :23.29 and a half-mile in :47.58. Love and Pride was in a perfect pace-pressing position the entire way and took over on the final turn while running six furlongs in 1:12.28. She wore down the pacesetter and Strike the Moon before beginning her stretch duel with Awesomemundo.
“There was a lot more pressure on Mike with this filly because she’s a house horse," Baffert joked. "She wasn’t in the picture and Jill said to me, “why is she way back there?’ I said, ‘that’s the way she runs.’ I told Mike, ‘she runs like Zenyatta a little bit, but don’t count on her to make up that much ground.’”
The winner improved to 4-0-1 from seven starts and increased her earnings to $172,120.
She paid $4.80, $3.20, and $2.60. The exacta (5-8) returned $22.40 and the trifecta (5-8-7) was $181.60.
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