The Florida-bred daughter of Journeyman Stud stallion Awesome of Course returned from an eight-month layoff to post a dominating 11 ¼-length victory in the $85,000 Nasty Storm overnight stakes.
Revving up for a planned start in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2, Awesome Feather broke smartly and then settled in third as Daddy’s Honor and fellow Florida-bred All Due Respect ripped through an opening quarter-mile in 22.63 seconds, with the half going in 44.96.
Given her cue by jockey Jeffrey Sanchez on the turn, Awesome Feather barreled past the pacesetters and swept into the stretch with a sizeable lead and opened up under a hand ride to hit the wire in a swift 1:33.47 for the mile.
“Six weeks out from the Breeders’ Cup, I think she needed a race, so I’m not at all upset about winning by that many and having a strong final time,” said Chad Brown, who trains the 2010 juvenile filly champion for Frank Stronach. “I think she needed the race and we got the race we needed.”
The 1-5 favorite, Awesome Feather returned $2.60 for a $2 win bet as she added the Nasty Storm to her 5 ¾-length victory in January’s Sunshine Millions Distaff, her only other start of 2012.
Purchased by Stronach for $2.3 million from Fred Brei following her triumph in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and turned over to Brown, the filly was off for 11 months with tendon issues and returned last fall to win the Le Slew overnight stakes at Belmont and the Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct Racetrack in her two 2011 appearances.
“Her other three wins, she was nice and sound, but we never had her looking weight-wise and coat-wise the way we wanted,” said Brown. “This race, coming in, was the best she ever looked to me. We’re just fortunate the race went here, that they had a race for us at Belmont, and it should be a good stepping-stone to the Ladies’ Classic if she comes out of the race in good shape.”
Awesome Feather/NYRA photo