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Awesome Again Stakes (Santa Anita) Predictions, Betting Odds, Picks

Written by: Brian Zipse
Published September 29, 2023
7 min read

Awesome Again Stakes Odds and Post Positions

Check out our predictions and odds for the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita!

PPHorseOddsJockeyTrainer
1SENOR BUSCADOR6/1G FrancoT Fincher
2DEFUNDED4/1E MaldonadoB Baffert
3SLOW DOWN ANDY4/1M GutierrezD O’Neill
4SKINNER6/1M SmithJ Shirreffs
5BYE BYE BOBBY12/1D Van DykeT Fincher
6CELESTIAL MOON12/1A FresuM Glatt
7NATIONAL TREASURE3/1J J HernandezB Baffert
8PIROLI20/1U RispoliM McCarthy
9STILLETO BOY8/1K DesormeauxE Moger Jr

Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Awesome Again Stakes Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$30 Win & Place - Slow Down Andy = $60

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Slow Down Andy (4/1).

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A classic winner in the spring, National Treasure will look to return to his winning ways when he tops a field of nine in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Trained by Bob Baffert, the son of Quality Road was a front-running winner of the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes three starts back.  

In his two starts since winning the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, he has faded down the stretch of the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes and the 10-furlong Travers Stakes.

Chief among his opposition in the 9-furlong Awesome Again will be his stablemate and defending winner of this race, Defunded. 

A Dialed In gelding, he continued his good form from last year this spring with wins in Santa Anita’s Grade 1 Gold Cup and Grade 2 Californian. More recently, however, he disappointed in the Pacific Classic and San Diego, both at Del Mar.

Another to consider in the last local prep for the Breeders’ Cup Classic is Slow Down Andy. A multiple-graded stakes winner, the son of Nyquist is rounding into top form after two solid efforts at Del Mar.

Trained by Doug O’Neill, the 4-year-old finished a competitive third in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic and second in the Grade 2 San Diego while only making three starts so far this year.

Awesome Again Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

National Treasure

This son of Quality Road has been fed a steady diet of Grade 1 races since breaking his maiden at first asking last September. He has only won one of them, but he picked a good spot for the victory when he wired the Grade 1 Preakness. 

His two races since do not look good on paper, but he faced tough fields and at distances probably longer than he prefers. 

Returning to a shorter distance and to Santa Anita will likely make him a factor again. The lone 3-year-old in the field is a big threat to beat his elders in this Grade 1 race.

Slow Down Andy

This son of Nyquist was third in this race last year as a 3-year-old and followed that up with an even better third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. After a sizable layoff, he now appears to be rounding into top form once again after two strong efforts at Del Mar. 

He was a bit headstrong last time when third in the Pacific Classic, but as usual, he fought on to finish a good third. Dropping down in distance, the mature version of Slow Down Andy should be primed to improve upon his finish of last season. 

Likely to be involved throughout, the classy chestnut should be tough to get by down the Santa Anita stretch. He is the top pick.

Defunded

A few months ago, this Baffert runner appeared to be the best older horse in California after nice wins in the Grade 1 Gold Cup and the Grade 2 Californian. 

The defending champion of the Awesome Again ran a pair of disappointing efforts at Del Mar, however, and now we are left to wonder if his form has tailed off of late. 

The good news is that he appears to prefer Santa Anita to Del Mar and is certainly eligible to return to strong form again. If he does, he becomes a big threat to win on Saturday.

Senor Buscador

The first of two for trainer Todd Fincher, this 5-year-old son of Mineshaft has shown ability ever since his debut at Remington Park three years ago. A winner of 6-of-13 lifetime, he is capable of beating just about anyone at his best. 

Two starts back he ran by a good field including Slow Down Andy to win the grade 2 San Diego. Last time in the Pacific Classic, he did not run poorly, but could not make much headway while closing for fourth. 

The late-runner is always a threat, and clearly is here, but it just may be a matter of how much the speed tires down the Santa Anita stretch.

Skinner

This son of Curlin gets another shot against older horses following a slightly disappointing fifth-place finish in the Pacific Classic. Other than a pair of maiden races, he has kept excellent company and has run some promising efforts. 

Most notably, he finished only a half-length short in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t done quite enough in his first six stakes tries. 

A fast pace would help him get over the hump here, but moderate early fractions seem more likely. He could pop up and run a big one, but a few others look more likely to win.

Stilleto Boy

A classy performer who has bankrolled better than $1.8 million in his career will need to bounce back from a pair of dull efforts if he is to make serious noise on Saturday. 

We saw him at his best earlier this year when he won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap. The 5-year-old Shackleford gelding followed that up with a very good effort in the Oaklawn Handicap. 

A poor showing in the Stephen Foster was followed up by never being a factor after a poor start in the Pacific Classic. If he can find his best form on Saturday, he is a threat, but it’s just hard to know. 

Celestial Moon

This son of Malibu Moon will be making his stakes debut on Saturday and this is a tough spot for testing the waters against good horses. 

Having said that, he has been a consistent performer of late and appears to be better than ever for trainer Mark Glatt. His latest was a nice allowance score at Del Mar which followed a short layoff. 

It was also his first try in Southern California. Overall, his lack of proven class has me looking elsewhere, but he could be a horse to watch out for down the road.

Bye Bye Bobby

The second for trainer Todd Fincher, this unheralded son of Quality Road is quietly putting together a very nice year. He’s run six solid races in a row, and his last might be his best yet. 

He came flying down the lane to finish second in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien going 7 furlongs at Del Mar. He looks capable at any distance, so the added quarter mile should not pose a problem. 

Clearly headed in the right direction, it will be a matter of class for him on Saturday. Because of that question, I do like others better, but he could be a live longshot.

Piroli

This son of Battle of Midway has run some good races at Santa Anita this year, including a pair of allowance wins and a second-place finish behind Defunded in the Gold Cup. 

Unfortunately, his last two, which came at Del Mar, are not as good. Like Defunded, you have to wonder if he is regressing. Even at his best, this would be a tough spot. 

While not a complete throwout here, in a deep field with several potential winners, he looks among the least likely to get the job done in this Grade 1 affair.

How to Watch the Awesome Again Stakes

  • What: Awesome Again Stakes (Grade 1) 
  • Location: Santa Anita
  • Time: Saturday, September 30 -- 7:30 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Purse: $300,000
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AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

294 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

More info on Brian Zipse
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