Rarely has a juvenile filly been able to step out of the Florida-bred ranks and make her mark as a champion by season’s end, but Awesome Feather, winner of the Eclipse Award for 2-year-old filly, is not your typical Florida-bred filly. Bred and raised by Fred Brei on his Jacks or Better Farm near Ocala, Fla., Awesome Feather steamrolled her state-bred opposition in the Florida Stallion Series and then cruised to victory in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) to cap an unbeaten season.
|Photos from Breeders' Cup Day 1.|
She joins Brave Raj (1986) as the only fillies to find FSS success, win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and earn the Eclipse Award as outstanding juvenile female.
Awesome Feather is a homebred product through and through. Her sire, Awesome of Course, and dam, Precious Feather, were both campaigned by Brei. While not exactly a household name, Awesome of Course is a stakes-winning son of Awesome Again who traces in tail-female to champion Straight Deal, and Precious Feather w n four stakes for Brei after being purchased privately from breeder John R. Gaines Thoroughbreds.
Brei knew early Awesome Feather was a good one, setting his sights on the Florida Stallion Series races following her maiden win in May and victory July 10 in the J J’sdream Stakes at Calder. Awesome feather won the Florida Stallion Series races, which consists of six-furlong seven-furlongs to 1 1/16 mile races, by 4 3/4, 4, and 81/4 lengths, respectively.
Awesome Feather came to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup with trainer Stanley Gold as an unknown quantity. Tracking the pace set by fellow Florida-bred R Heat Lightning in the Juvenile Fillies, jockey Jeffrey Sanchez moved Awesome Feather past the leader on the turn and into the history books while drawing off to a 2 1/4-length score.
Brei is not one to take his show on the road. Prior to the Breeders’ Cup he had entered Awesome Feather in the Fasig-Tipton November sale so she could find the right owner to take her “where all the grade I races are,” he said. So, two days after earning her championship, she was sold for $2.3 million to Frank Stronach.
Voting for 2-year-old filly:
Awesome Feather, 235; Turbulent Descent, 2, More Than Real, 1.