After the worst start of his career in the William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) July 31 at Monmouth Park, Awesome Slew bounced back with the top race of his young career in the $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes (gr. III).
Video: Smarty Jones S. (G3)
Live Oak Plantation homebred Awesome Slew seized the lead early and drew off in the stretch for a seven-length victory in the Smarty Jones Monday, Sept. 5 at Parx Racing. With the effort, the son of Awesome Again secured the first stakes win of his career in impressive fashion.
In Monday's 1 1/16-mile test, Awesome Slew broke well from the outside post in the field of 14 3-year-olds and seized the early lead through a quarter-mile in :23.14 and half-mile in :47.74 under Paco Lopez. Awesome Slew appeared to be comfortable throughout, completing six furlongs in 1:12 before cruising home in the stretch.
With the win, Awesome Slew earns a free nomination to the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) Sept. 24 at Parx. Edward Plesa Jr. trains Awesome Slew.
In completing the race in 1:42.92, Awesome Slew returned $23.80 to win, $10.60 to place, and $5.20 to show. Wild About Deb earned his second graded stakes placing, finishing second and paying $6.80 and $4.40 to place and show, while longshot Seeking the Soul rallied for his first stakes placing, returning $16.80 to show.
Florida-bred Awesome Slew is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Slewfoundmoney, who also has produced grade III-placed Souper Lucky, by Giant's Causeway.
Earlier on the card, DARRS Inc.'s Scuba ended a stretch of seven straight races where he finished second or third by winning the Greenwood Cup Stakes (gr. III). The victory marked the first graded stakes win for the 5-year-old son of Tapit.
Scuba is trained by Brendan Walsh, who also won the 2014 edition of the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup with Cary Street. He was guided to victory by Kendrick Carmouche, completing the race in 2:32.76 on a fast track.