Saturday, November 26, 2011

In Awe of Feather

With some paragraphs drawn from “Waiting for an Awesome Return
When Zenyatta was retired, I felt a void in my heart. I needed another “big” horse to cheer for. I had Blind Luck, but I was still searching for another horse. That’s when it occurred to me that I already had that horse. It was Awesome Feather.
I first heard of the filly in her final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), the Florida Stallion My Dear Girl Stakes. She won that race by an incredible eight and one-quarter lengths, running her record to a perfect five-for-five.

Awesome Feather battling R Heat Lightning before
drawing clear to win the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies
Photo: Terri Cage
In person, I witnessed Awesome Feather win the Juvenile Fillies beneath the Twin Spires. It was one of my favorite races of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup and she had me cheering her name all the way down the stretch. Little did I know, I had found my “big” horse.

After being sold for $2.3 million to Adena Springs (Frank Stronach), she was transferred to Chad Brown’s stable.  Just days before being named Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, it was announced that Awesome Feather had an issue with a tendon and was sidelined for an unknown amount of time. By February, she was walking under tack and by the end of the month, she returned to jogging. She returned to the work tab on May 24, breezing three furlongs at Belmont Park in 36.78. She breezed four more times until some minor issues appeared.
After two more months off, Awesome Feather returned to the work tab yet again. Her return came in the Le Slew Stakes at Belmont Park, in which the stunning bay filly defeated four other females by two lengths under her regular rider, Jeffrey Sanchez. The final time for seven furlongs was 1:22.76.
Despite talk that the champion filly would run in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI), her connections decided to bypass that race and point toward the Gazelle Stakes (GI) at Aqueduct the weekend after Thanksgiving instead. I applaud them for that decision, as racing fans were in for a treat.
Coming around the final turn, Awesome Feather loomed large to the outside of Love and Pride. Under brisk urging from Sanchez, Awesome Feather drew clear, crossing the wire an easy five and one-quarter lengths ahead of the others. With that win, she earned her second grade one victory and boosted her record to a flawless eight-for-eight. As they came down the stretch, my heart beat with joy, my eyes lit up, and I bounced up and down. I am in awe of Awesome Feather.

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