Grade I winner High Fly, 10th in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (gr. I) before heading to the sidelines, returns to action in the $150,000 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-olds Sunday.
The Nick Zito-trained son of Atticus
won the Florida Derby (gr. I) in April. He has prepared for his first start in nearly four months at Saratoga.
Jerry Bailey draws the riding assignment on the 120-pound high weight in a field of six entered in the one-mile Jerome.
A three-time winner from six starts, Awesome Twist, trained by John Kimmel, makes his grade II debut.
Awesome Twist returns quickly after winning a second-level allowance at Saratoga with a bold last-to-first run on Aug. 28. He is 3-1-0 from six starts, suffering his worst defeat in the Lone Star Derby on May 14.
"We were really excited about bringing him to Lone Star, but the track was too hard for him," Kimmel said. "He had a patch protecting a quarter-crack, and I think his feet were stinging him the entire race. He came out of it sore and a little jammed up, and it took me a month to get him going again."
Awesome Twist returned to the races with a second-place finish behind Jerome rival Better Than Bonds at Saratoga on July 30. He progressed nicely win last month's allowance race.
"I thought he ran well first out, but he needed the race," Kimmel said. "I really liked his last win. There were few horses that came from that far off the pace going six and a half and seven furlongs. The added distance (in the Jerome) is helpful. The only thing that bothers me is the quick turnaround, but he came out of the race in good shape. I'm pretty excited about running him."
Sir Greeley and Better than Bonds were good-looking allowance winners at Saratoga and also deserve respect in the Jerome.$150,000 Jermome Handicap (gr. II), 3-year-olds, 1 mile
PP. Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Wgt.
1. Awesome Twist, John Kimmel, Javier Castellano, 114
2. High Fly, Nick Zito, Jerry Bailey, 120
3. Sir Greeley, Jimmy Jerkens, Eibar Coa, 114
4. Better than Bonds, Bobby Reinacher, Richard Migliore, 115
5. Silver Train, Richard Dutrow Jr., Edgar Prado, 113
6. Naughty New Yorker, Pat Kelly, Jean-Luc Samyn, 115