Awesome Again Dead at 26

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Awesome Again | Sarah Andrew

Breeders' Cup Classic winner and top sire Awesome Again (Deputy Minister–Primal Force, by Blushing Groom {Fr}) died suddenly Tuesday at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, Kentucky. He was 26.

(Click here for video feature 'The House That Awesome Again Built') 

The exact cause of death is unknown. A full necropsy is pending and a full veterinary report will follow.

The Canadian-bred had an exemplary resume as both a racehorse and a stallion. He broke his maiden at Hollywood Park in just his second start as a 3-year-old in 1997. He returned a few weeks later to capture that year's Queen's Plate S. at Woodbine. Back in the U.S. that summer the Stronach Stables homebred went on to win the GII Jim Dandy S. and was third in the GI Travers S. at Saratoga.

At four, he completed an undefeated season that included five graded stakes victories, among them the GI Stephen Foster H., GI Whitney H., and one of the most memorable editions of the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, where, looking defeated, he rallied in the stretch to defeat Coronado's Quest and Swain and that year's GI Kentucky Derby-Preakness hero, Silver Charm.

He retired from racing in 1998 with nine wins from 12 starts and earnings of $4,374,590.

As significant in the breeding shed as he was on the track, Awesome again sired three champions: Ghostzapper, 2004 Horse of the Year and champion older horse; Ginger Punch, 2007 champion older mare; and Nominee, a multiple champion in Trinidad and Tobago.

His other elite runners include Old Friends retirees Game on Dude–who captured 14 graded stakes and is the only three-time winner of the GI Santa Anita H. in history–and Awesome Gem, who captured the GI Hollywood Gold Cup at age seven; GI Breeder's Cup Distaff winner Round Pond; GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Wilko; and 2019 GI Belmont S. winner Sir Winston.

He sired 13 millionaires and five multi-millionaires as well as four Breeders' Cup winner. Awesome Again was also the first Breeders' Cup Classic winner to sire a Classic winner (Ghostzapper).

Awesome Again had been retired from stud duty at Frank Stronach's Adena Springs in 2019 and was pensioned to Old Friends in October of this year.

“Anyone who ever saw Awesome Again on the racetrack or at Adena Springs knew he was aptly named,” Michael Blowen, founder and President of Old Friends, said. “I'm just sorry his time at Old Friends was so short because I know he would have made a searing, lasting impression on his many fans, and I'm so sorry that circumstances prevented him from displaying his greatness for a lot longer. Awesome, indeed.”

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