Award It wins June 24 at Santa Anita Park

Award It wins June 24 at Santa Anita Park

Benoit Photo

'Hermaphrodite' Reported Before Race at Santa Anita

Well-bred Award It's gender ambiguity reported for claiming race.

Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella has had thousands of starters, and Santa Anita Park racing secretary Rick Hammerle has seen thousands more pass through the entry box.

Neither had seen a case like Wertheimer and Frere's Award It, who was entered—and ended up winning—the first race June 24 at Santa Anita.

The changes posted for Saturday's card state that the Tapit  filly is "an anatomical hermaphrodite and appears unable to be bred."

"They discovered it when she was born," Mandella said. "She has physical signs. We haven't see the other part—at least I haven't—but she's like a gelding. She's a racehorse. There's no reason she can't run, but she's not for breeding.

"She's a good-looking filly. Not gifted with the most talent, but we're trying to find a place where she can play the game."

The aspect to her gender was not reported for the first nine races of her career, but both Mandella and Hammerle said that, because she is dropping in for a claiming tag for the first time Saturday, they felt it necessary to be transparent.

"We do it for any kind of oddity—like if there is a mare in foal, we do that—and this comes under that as an oddity," Hammerle said. "You let the buyer know ahead of time, they can go ahead and do it, but this is what you're getting."

Award It would have been popular in the claim box—and still might be—because of her stellar breeding. By leading sire Tapit, she is also a half sister to grade 1 winner Persistently. Her dam, Just Reward, is also a half sibling to grade 1 winner Good Reward, both out of champion and eight-time grade 1 winner Heavenly Prize.

"We've had some nice offers to scratch and sell her to breed. If I could figure out how to get away with it, I'd have done it," Mandella joked.

Mandella said Award It has been tested chromosomally and is registered as a filly to race because of that. California Horse Racing Board equine medical director Dr. Rick Arthur, who Hammerle said came up with the language in the program, clarified Award It's case.

"She is a filly," Arthur said. "Her registration papers say that and she has been tested. Chromosomally she is fully 'XX' (males are 'XY'), but she has malformed external genitalia. I have not examined her myself, but her testosterone levels are normal."

Unlike Mandella and Hammerle, Arthur has encountered an "ambiguous" gendered horse before, but that case was a male, who was eventually gelded.

Award It won Saturday's one-mile $25,000 conditional claimer on the turf by a head and was claimed by trainer Ron Ellis. Her previous victory came in March of 2016 on the Santa Anita lawn.