Awesome Again Stakes 2015 at Santa Anita Park

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes comes our way from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California this Saturday, September 26. Horses three years old and upward will be featured when they take to Santa Anita's dirt track and go 1 1/8 miles for the winner's share of the $300,000 purse.

A competitive group of eight will take part in the Awesome Again Stakes - race 10 on Santa Anita's busy Saturday card. Post time is 5:00 PM. Here is a glance into the past performances of all eight entries for this Grade 1 stakes.

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2015 Awesome Again Stakes Race Favorite Entries

Bayern - Bob Baffert trained colt has 14 career starts and has placed in nine - five graded stakes scores with two Grade 1 wins included. He enters off an ugly ninth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar August 22 after an OK third in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap July 25 and a disappointing tenth in the Grade 1 Met Mile June 6. He also had a last of six in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes May 2 - yuk. Before that were superb wins in the Breeders' Cup Classic and the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby in September. He also won the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park last July and the Grade 2 Woody Stephens by 7 1/2 lengths at Belmont Park June 7, 2014. Bayern has six wins in his 14 starts but will be after his first victory in 10 months on a track in which he's won all three career starts. Martin Garcia has been tabbed to ride the most decorated entry in the field - from the outside gate 8 Saturday.

Hoppertunity - Bob Baffert trained colt was one of the favorites for last year's Kentucky Derby but missed that race. He had a decent second to Hard Aces in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 27, 2014 and has been just OK since - two good wins - in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes January 10 and in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs November 28 were the highlights. He enters off consecutive fourths - the Grade 1 Pacific Classic last time out August 22 and in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap July 25. He's also had consecutive OK third place finishes - in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap June 13 and the Grade 2 San Antonio Invitational in February. Last year Hoppertunity had a good second behind California Chrome in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in April, to go along with a great win over Tapiture in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park last March 15. Hoppertunity has four wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in his last 11 starts overall but enters in a bit of a slump. Mike Smith hopes to change all of that from post 5.

Awesome Again Stakes 2015 | Remaining Contenders

Hard Aces - John Sadler trainee looked awfully impressive two starts back - winning the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita over Catch a Flight and Hoppertunity June 27 but followed that with a disappointing sixth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic last time out at Del Mar August 22. His win followed a third in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes May 30 and off-the-board finishes in his previous two starts - both graded stakes - a sixth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap April 11 and a fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7. He had a nice four length win in the minor Louisiana Handicap January 17 with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure as well. Hard Aces has won twice this year but isn't afraid to throw in a dud. He looks for a strong bounce back performance Saturday but enters in typically inconsistent form from the rail with Victor Espinoza in the irons.

Imperative - last year's fifth place finisher in this race hadn't been great before a second two starts back in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic in April. He won the 2014 Charles Town Classic as well but hasn't done much outside of that race. A fifth last time out in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, an eight in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March, a sixth in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes February 7, a fifteenth in the Group 1 Champions Cup in Japan, a ninth in the Breeders' Cup Classic and on and on and on. Imperative hasn't been good but hopes to get back on track Saturday from gate 6 with Corey Nakatani in the rails.

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Sammy Mandeville - Doug O'Neill trained colt has 16 career starts with two wins, four seconds and a third place finish and posted an OK second last time out in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs August 16. Before that was a sixth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap July 25 at Del Mar, a fifth in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes May 30 and a career best effort - a second behind Catch a Flight in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes May 2. He's also had a pair of ninths in graded stakes action. Sammy Mandeville has placed in just two of his last five starts overall, albeit in graded stakes company and enters in typically so-so form. Rafael Bejarano has the mount from gate 2.

Point Piper - makes his graded stakes debut for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. He enters off a win in the minor Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at Del Mar August 26 after an ugly eighth in an Allowance Optional Claiming on that same track in July and an Allowance score at Lone Star in May. He steps in with decent form but could be in over his head in this one. Mario Gutierrez rides from post 3.

Global View - had a couple of graded stakes victories early in his career - the 2013 Grade 3 Generous Stakes and the Grade 2 American Turf in May, 2014 but hasn't been the same since. He has placed in just three of his last seven starts - a second last time out in the minor Harry F. Brubaker Stakes followed a fourth in the minor Wickerr Stakes in July. Before that was consecutive thirds in Allowance Optional Claiming races here in the spring. Global View looks for his first win in 16 months Saturday from gate 4 with Drayden Van Dyke in the reins.

Smooth Roller - will make just his fourth career start Saturday after posting two wins to start his career and a fourth last time out in his stakes debut - the minor Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at Del Mar August 26. Smooth Roller makes his graded stakes bow Saturday from post 7 with Tyler Baze in the saddle.

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