Autism Awareness

Autism Awareness

Vassar Photo

Popular Runner Autism Awareness Dies

Autism Awareness, a dual grade III winner, was euthanized April 14.

In his first start back after more than a year, dual graded stakes winner Autism Awareness broke down in an April 14 allowance optional claiming race at Santa Anita Park.

A 6 1/2-furlong test on the downhill turf course, Autism Awareness broke down in the stretch and was vanned off. He suffered two severe breaks to sesamoids and was euthanized. The horse had taken more than seven months rest on the farm to recuperate from a minor injury before returning to training at Golden Gate Fields.

The 8-year-old son of Tannersmyman out of the Sharp Victor mare Lady Essex, was bred in California by Jim Eaton, Paul Arndt, Dave Marabela, and Mr. and Mrs. Terry Smith. Johnny Taboada purchased the colt for $1,000 at the 2006 California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association's Northern California yearling sale.

Named to help draw attention to autism, a cognitive developmental disorder from which Taboada's 13-year-old son suffers, the colt earned $356,732. Autism Awareness was trained by Genaro Vallejo for all of his 39 starts and held a record of 5-5-2.

Autism Awareness scored his biggest victories in the 2008 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) and the 2009 Berkeley Stakes (gr. III). He also placed in the Governor's Handicap at Sacramento and the Bull Dog Stakes at Fresno.