Awesome Again Stakes 2013 Contenders at Santa Anita Park

Dave Bond | OTB Writer
Updated: September 26, 2013 -- 12:42 PM ET

Las Vegas, NV - Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California will play host to four Grade 1 Stakes on Saturday, September 28 - one being the Awesome Again Stakes - a 1 1/8 mile test for horses three years old and upward. A purse of $250,000 will be in the line for those lining up Saturday.

An impressive field of 10 will line up in the Awesome Again Stakes - race 10 on Santa Anita's Saturday card. Post time is 5:30 PM. Here is a peek into the past performances of all 10 entries for this Grade 1 stakes. A win here means an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Classic in November.

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2013 Awesome Again Stakes Race Favorite Entries

Mucho Macho Man - had not raced since a seventh place finish in January in the Sunshine Millions Classic before a third in the minor Criminal Type Stakes at Belmont Park June 14 and a good third last time out in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational at Saratoga August 3. He had a terrific second to Fort Larned in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, and last year had a very good second in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga September 1 and a win at the Grade 2 Suburban by an easy two and a half lengths July 7 and placed in six of seven starts in 2012 before the layoff. He was also third in the 2011 Kentucky Derby. So we know that he is not scared to be in there with the best! He has six wins, five seconds and six third place finishes in 21 career starts and starts from the far outside post with the legend Gary Stevens in the saddle as one of the likely favorites Saturday.

Paynter - Bob Baffert trained Paynter had a very impressive second in the Belmont Stakes in 2012 and went on to a terrific win in the Grade 1 Haskell last July. He then was forced to the sidelines for close to 11 months with an illness that almost claimed his life. Paynter recently returned in story book fashion with an Allowance score at Hollywood Park by 4 1/2 lengths as 2-5 favorite June 14 and then finished a respectable second behind Kettle Corn in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap July 27. Last time out was a disappointing last of five finish as favorite in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga August 31. He now has three wins and three seconds in his last seven starts. Paynter has four wins and three seconds in nine career starts - the lone off-the-board finishes coming in April 2012 - a fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and last time out. He will be out to erase the memory of the Woodward and should be at or near the front as the race turns for home with Martin Garcia in the saddle from post 7.

Awesome Again Stakes 2013 | Remaining Contenders

Liaison - Bob Baffert trained Liaison had a streak of zero wins in seven starts snapped in the minor Santana Mile Stakes at Santa Anita and he followed that with a terrific win in the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy Handicap May 4. Next up was another good result - a second in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park June 1 before a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap in July and a third in the minor Harry F. Brubaker Stakes last time out behind Summer Hit. He is highly regarded but has been very inconsistent in his career. He has two wins, a second and a third place finish in five starts this year in 2013 and looked on the verge of realizing his potential before a couple of unflattering starts. Who knows what to make of this colt!

Take Control - Bob Baffert trainee has just three career starts due to a rash of injuries but he does have two wins in those starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming at Hollywood Park in June of 2012 and a Maiden Special Weight in December 2009 at Santa Anita. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap in July 2012. He makes his first start in over a year Saturday and will be in tough against a very good field. Impressive Rosie Napravnik gets the mount Saturday.

Jeranimo - Jeranimo returned to prominence last June with a win in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile last year after a decent second in the race before - the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate. He was third after that in the 2012 Grade 2 Del Mar Mile August 26 - the third straight race in which he placed. After that was a slight rough patch - a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Mile and a fourth in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park November 23. His first start of 2013 resulted in a nice bounce back for Jeranimo - a win in the Grade 2 San Gabriele Stakes at Santa Anita January 13 but he finished last of seven in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 4. He then raced to a fourth in the 2013 Shoemaker Mile June 29 but bounced back again with a win in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes July 20. Last time out he continued to prove inconsistent - a ninth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 25. He makes his first ever start on natural dirt Saturday and enters as the 124 pound highweight.

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Golden Ticket - Kenneth McPeek trained colt enters having won two of his last three starts - the minor Prairie Meadows Handicap last time out by eight lengths and an Allowance Optional Claiming in May with a second in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap sandwiched in there. His best career result came back in August 2012 - a dead-heat win in the Grade 1 Travers. He has placed in four of his last six graded stakes starts and enters in decent form for trainer Kelly McPeek.

You Know I Know - John Sadler trained gelding made his stakes debut last time out and finished a very respectable third at 40-1 odds in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic here August 25. He now has 18 career starts with five wins, a second and four third place finishes and enters the Awesome Again having won two of his last four starts - both Allowance Optional Claiming - the last one coming on this track August 3.

Summer Hit - synthetic specialist made his graded stakes debut for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer April 27 and finished a very good second in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile having won six of nine career starts with a second and two third place finishes. Since that time he has won two of three starts - an impressive score in the Grade 3 All American Stakes in May at Golden Gate was followed by an uncharacteristic sixth in the minor California Dreamin' Handicap in July and a win last time out in the minor Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at Del Mar August 31.

Soi Phet - has 20 career starts with five wins, two seconds and a third place finish but Saturday marks his stakes debut. He enters on a four race win streak however - three Allowance races at Del Mar this summer and a Starter Allowance at Hollywood Park in June.

Chief Havoc - Peter Miller trained colt enters having won three of his last six starts - in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes July 4 at Hollywood Park, an Allowance by 4 3/4 lengths at Hollywood Park May 30 and a MSW at Santa Anita April 4. Sandwiched in there is a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming May 3. Last time out was an ugly seventh in the first of the Grade 1 Del Mar Derby races after an OK fourth in the highly competitive Grade 2 San Diego Handicap here July 27. He now has three wins in 10 career starts - all of those wins coming in his last six starts. He has run some big races with success but enters this week in so-so form.

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