“No problems, he came out of the race well,” said trainer Craig Dollase of Awesome Gem, who with $2,761,370 in earnings leads all active American thoroughbred racehorses in money won. “That was a big comeback win. We were real pleased with his effort. It was nice to see the old boy come back and run as well as he did.”
The change in surface didn’t bother Awesome Gem, who earned his first victory in three starts on Golden Gate Fields’ Tapeta. Awesome Gem also ran well in his first two tries on the surface as he finished second in the Grade 3 All American Stakes in 2008 and third in the Grade 3 Berkeley in 2009.
The Grade 3 San Francisco Mile is Northern California’s top turf race and nominations for the race close next Thursday.
“We’re looking at two races, the San Francisco Mile and the Mervyn LeRoy,” responded Dollase when asked about Awesome Gem’s next start. “The Mervyn LeRoy gives us a little more time between starts. We’ll see how the horse is doing and consider both options.”
The Grade 3 $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, will be run May 5 at Hollywood Park.
Trainer William E. Morey reported that Positive Response also came out of Thursday’s race well and is on target for the San Francisco Mile. “We were very happy with the way he ran,” said Morey of Positive Response, who hung in tough after being pressured on the lead by longshot Honour the Deputy, who eventually faded to last.