Awesome Gem makes his first start since finishing seventh to Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) when he runs in the $250,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT). David Flores, who was aboard for that race and also for a winning ride in the grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup last October, is back on for the Kilroe.
A 7-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and trained by Craig Dollase, Awesome Gem has a 6-11-3 record from 31 career starts, but is only one for nine on the grass.
“I think his best races are on the turf,” Flores said. “But he runs good on anything. He always tries. He’s an honest horse.”
Flores felt Awesome Gem might have been closer in the Classic with better racing luck. He broke outward from post 12, was less than three lengths off the lead entering the stretch, but tired late.
“It wasn’t that bad breaking from the outside,” Flores recalled, “because one time before the turn I had the opportunity to go down to the fence. I tried to do my best on the horse and I came a little bit wide on the second turn. The first turn was fine. I made the decision to stay outside because I didn’t want to get trapped. You never know what’s going to happen in a race.”
An earner of nearly $1.7 million, Awesome Gem also scored the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) in 2007. He turned in his final work for the Kilroe Mile on Feb. 27 at Hollywood Park, going six furlongs in 1:13.40.
Out of the Pentelicus mare Piano, Awesome Gem was bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm, Catesby Clay, and Peter Callahan.