2022 TVG Awesome Again Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview
A $300,000 purse and an automatic bid to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) are up for grabs Saturday, October 2 at Santa Anita in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1)! The 1 ⅛-mile race drew a field of eight: six older horses, plus two three-year-olds who are trying older stakes horses for the first time.
With Flightline training up to the Breeders’ Cup, the leading contenders include Grade 1 winners Country Grammer, Tripoli, and Express Train. However, everyone brings graded-stakes form into the race, meaning it should be a competitive affair. Keep reading to get to know more about the field, find out recent trends in the race, and see how to watch and bet on the race online!
Awesome Again Stakes 2022 Information
Race Date: Saturday, October 1, 2022
Track: Del Mar
Post Time: 4:00 p.m. Pacific time
Distance: 1 1/8 miles on the dirt
Age/Sex: three-year-olds and up
Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing
Awesome Again Stakes Odds
The Santa Anita racing office drew the 2022 Awesome Again Stakes on Wednesday, September 28, with a morning line assigned the next day. The morning line can provide good clues about who is expected to take money, though the actual odds will fluctuate until post time.
These are the horses in the 2022 Awesome Again Stakes in post-position order, including their trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds.
|1||Azul Coast||Bob Baffert||Hector Berrios||20-1|
|2||Royal Ship||Richard Mandella||Mike Smith||3-1|
|3||High Connection||Bob Baffert||Abel Cedillo||12-1|
|4||Country Grammar||Bob Baffert||Juan Hernandez||8-5|
|5||Tripoli||John Sadler||Ramon Vazquez||8-1|
|6||Defunded||Bob Baffert||Edwin Maldonado||6-1|
|7||Express Train||John Shirreffs||Victor Espinoza||7-2|
|8||Slow Down Andy||Doug O'Neill||Mario Gutierrez||12-1|
Remember that horse racing is a game of information. Since odds change until post time, you can make the smartest bets by tracking the odds and making educated decisions about why the odds are the way they are, and whether they provide you with enough value. By watching FanDuel TV, you will not only see the live odds updates but also get up-to-the-minute information about each of the horses, in order for you to make your best bets.
Awesome Again Stakes Prep Results
Three Awesome Again runners were last seen chasing Flightline home in the Pacific Classic (G1). Country Grammer came closest; he tracked the pace and held on for second, 19 ¼ lengths behind the impressive winner. He finished seven lengths clear of third-place Royal Ship, who made a mild run, flattened a bit late, but held show by half a length over Express Train.
The other three older horses come out of three different races. Tripoli has freshened up since a sixth-place finish behind Royal Ship in the San Diego Handicap (G2) on July 30 at Del Mar. Azul Coast was last seen finishing fifth behind Express Train in the San Antonio (G2) all the way back in December. Defunded is the only one stretching out from a sprint; he most recently ran sixth behind stablemate Laurel River in the Pat O’Brien (G2) on August 27.
Two horses also come out of straight three-year-old company. High Connection came back from a freshening to finish second in the Shared Belief on September 3, a race in which he missed by just a nose. Slow Down Andy also faced three-year-olds last out, winning the Del Mar Derby (G2) in upset fashion by half a length. That was Slow Down Andy’s first try on the lawn, though he is a two-time graded stakes winner on dirt as well, and he broke his maiden over the Santa Anita main.
Awesome Again Stakes Contenders
Azul Coast: One of four from the Bob Baffert barn, this son of Super Saver has found an ambitious spot to make his five-year-old return. He has been well beaten in both of his attempts in Grade 1 races, and his dirt form is significantly better down at Del Mar than it has been at Santa Anita. It would be a surprise to see him make an impact in this; perhaps let him get a start or two under him and look at him in a minor stakes at Del Mar in the autumn.
Royal Ship: He has held solid form through this spring and summer in the handicap ranks in Southern California. He should have an easier time now that he is not facing Flightline, and the cut back from 1 ¼ miles to 1 ⅛ miles helps him more than it helps Country Grammer, who finished ahead of him in the Pacific Classic. With solid Santa Anita form, he has the look of a contender.
High Connection: He tries older here for Bob Baffert, who trained Medina Spirit to a win in this race as a three-year-old last year. This son of Connect has not finished worse than second in five starts, though only one of those came in graded company, a second-place finish as the heavy favorite in the Affirmed (G3). His early speed is an asset in Arcadia, though he needs to take a significant step forward to hold his own against some solid older horses in this field.
Country Grammer: This Bob Baffert charge ran his race last out in the Pacific Classic, and just got beat by Flightline, a horse who is either a generational talent or at least turned out a generational effort in that race. He looms as the class of this field, and has good pace versatility. The big question about him is the distance; he does his best work at a mile and a quarter, and has proven vulnerable when shortening up against horses of this caliber before.
Tripoli: He looked like a rising star last year when he switched to dirt and ran three excellent races in a row, culminating in a victory in the Pacific Classic. But, he has yet to recapture that form in four starts since. If he finds that form again he can be competitive here, and perhaps a jockey change may wake something new up in him. However, that seems a long shot, and he needs to be a big price to bet he’ll find enough improvement.
Defunded: The last of the Baffert Brigade, a cut back to a sprint in the Pat O’Brien last out did not wake him up. Perhaps the move back to Santa Anita will be just the ticket: he looked a truly improving type back in the spring, when he won a second-level allowance and finished a close second behind long shot There Goes Harvard in the Gold Cup (G1) in May. If he can clear his stablemate High Connection, that is his best shot: go to the front and try to steal this.
Express Train: He was a well-beaten fourth in the Pacific Classic, but everyone was running for second behind Flightline that day. And, that was his first start since April. It is good to see him return relatively quickly from that outing, meaning he could be sharper second off the layoff. Between the cut back to a mile and an eighth and this return to the Santa Anita track he loves, expect real improvement from him.
Slow Down Andy: One of the pluckier members of the three-year-old class, he has finished worse than second only once, when sixth behind Epicenter in the Risen Star (G2). Last time, he tried turf for the first time and went gate to wire in the Del Mar Derby. However, he has yet to face older, and hasn’t faced truly top company since getting walloped by the likes of Epicenter and Zandon in New Orleans. Given that, he needs a serious step forward to be a threat.
Awesome Again Stakes Past Winners Past Performances
Unsurprisingly, the most common last-out race for Awesome Again winners is the Pacific Classic, with four of the last ten winners last racing in it. Three of the four horses coming out of the Pacific Classic won, with the only exception being Game On Dude (2012), who was second in the race for Bob Baffert before winning the Awesome Again.
Two other recent Awesome Again winners took their final prep in California in a race other than the Pacific Classic. Smooth Roller (2015) was fourth in the Harry F. Brubaker Stakes before righting the ship in the Awesome Again, his graded stakes debut. And, last year, Medina Spirit won the Awesome Again in his first try against older, after winning the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar. (Interestingly, the only other three-year-old to win the Awesome Again in the last ten years was Shared Belief himself, though he prepared with a romp against older in the Pacific Classic.)
Three other recent Awesome Again winners were last seen at Saratoga. Improbable (2020) came out of a victory in the Whitney, though the other two did not get their picture taken. Mucho Macho Man (2013) came out of a third in the Whitney, while Mongolian Groom (2019) was fifth in the Woodward. One Awesome Again winner in the last ten years was last seen overseas; Mubtaahij (2017) won it in his first start since finishing fourth in the Dubai World Cup (G1).
Awesome Again Stakes Undercard
The Awesome Again will be run as the eighth of 10 races on Santa Anita’s Saturday card. The card features five other stakes races: the John Henry Turf Championship (G2), City of Hope Mile (G2), Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2), Eddie D (G2), and Unzip Me Stakes. With classy action of all sorts—dirt and turf, route and sprint—it will be an exciting betting card, and a great reason to watch and wager all day at TVG and FanDuel!
Santa Anita Park began as a part of Rancho Santa Anita. After a series of owners, it was acquired by horse breeder Lucky Baldwin, who built the original Santa Anita Park in 1904. That facility closed in 1909 after a California law banning racetrack gambling, and burned down in 1912. Horse racing became legal again in California in 1933, after which the Los Angeles Turf Club formed. They built a new track, the present Santa Anita, which opened on Christmas Day in 1934.
Santa Anita's main track is a one-mile dirt oval. The turf track inside of it is a 0.9-mile grass oval. A unique feature of that Santa Anita turf track is the downhill course, which juts out to the northwest over the far turn, crosses over the dirt, and then joins the turf oval. Santa Anita runs 6 ½-furlong turf sprints over that course, and also uses it as a start for some of its longer turf routes.
Awesome Again Stakes FAQ
Q: When is the Awesome Again Stakes?
A: Saturday, October 1 2022, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific time.
Q: Where is the Awesome Again Stakes?
A: It takes place at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Awesome Again Stakes?
A: Trainer Bob Baffert leads all conditioners with seven wins in the race, including victories in the last two. Baffert has four horses in this year’s Awesome Again: Azul Coast, Country Grammer, Defunded, and High Connection.
Q: Who is the favorite for the Awesome Again Stakes?
A: Dubai World Cup winner Country Grammer, most recently second in the Pacific Classic, is the likely favorite in the 2022 Awesome Again Stakes.
Q: Who is the best Awesome Again Stakes jockey?
A: Jockey Gary Stevens leads all riders with five Awesome Again Stakes wins between 1988 and 2013. Among jockeys with a call in this year’s edition, Mike Smith leads with two wins: with Tiago (2007) and Shared Belief (2014).
Q: Who won the Awesome Again Stakes in 2021?
A: Medina Spirit won the 2021 Awesome Again Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey John Velazquez. Baffert entered four in this year’s edition, though Velazquez does not take a call this year.