Medina Spirit Takes On Accomplished Elders in Awesome Again

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Medina SpiritBenoit

Medina Spirit (Protonico) looks to secure his spot in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic as he faces his elders Saturday in the GI Awesome Again S. at Santa Anita. Winner of the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. here in January, the Florida-bred was second in both the Mar. 6 GII San Felipe S.–won by his former stablemate and recent GII Kelso H. victor Life is Good (Into Mischief)–and Apr. 3 GI Santa Anita Derby. The dark bay went wire to wire in the May 1 GI Kentucky Derby, a win that is now in question after a minor overage of betamethasone was detected in post-race testing. Third after setting the early pace in the GI Preakness S. May 15, he scored a facile, front-running victory in the Shared Belief S. at Del Mar last time Aug. 29. Medina Spirit was entered to run in last weekend's GI Pennsylvania Derby, but trainer Bob Baffert scratched him in favor of this test after the draw. Stablemate Azul Coast (Super Saver) breaks to Medina Spirit's outside here after taking a Del Mar optional claimer Aug. 22

GI Pacific Classic top two Tripoli (Kitten's Joy) and Tizamagician (Tiznow) both return in this spot. The former has run on the turf for most of his career, but sports a record of 3-2-1-0 since switching dirt, winning a local optional claimer June 19 and finishing second in the GII San Diego H. July 17. Tizamagician entered the Pac Classic off a win in the GIII Cougar II S. at Del Mar July 18.

GI Santa Anita H. victor Idol (Curlin) was sidelined after scoring that career high Mar. 6 and makes his first start off the bench in this Breeders' Cup qualifier. He boasts a strong worktab in preparation, most recently breezing a bullet six furlongs in 1:12 flat here Sept. 26.

John Shireffs sends out two in here in Express Train (Union Rags) and Midcourt (Midnight Lute). Winner of the GII San Diego H. July 17, Express Train was a well-beaten sixth in the Pac Classic, but is typically a consistent money earner and could get a piece here. MGSW Midcourt comes into this off an allowance win at this oval June 18. Shared Belief third Stilleto Boy (Shackleford) rounds out the field.

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