May 18, 2024

Slow Down Andy, who has always been close but never won a Grade 1 race, checked off that box with a win in Saturday’s Grade 1 $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. The win gives him a free pass into the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 4 at the same track.

The 4-year-old colt’s gate-to-wire win was a big exclamation point for the connections. The owner, trainer and jockey were the same as Slow Down Andy’s sire, Nyquist, who won the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

“I was kind of surprised, I thought everyone would try to go [to the lead],” owner Paul Reddam told Santa Anita publicity. “The track has been pretty speed favorite all day and he just broke so smoothly that he was on top in three jumps and that worked out. … We are in for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”

Jockey Mario Gutierrez also was complimentary of the fast start.

Slow Down Andy, right, runs ahead of the field to win the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Slow Down Andy, right, runs ahead of the field to win the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

(Benoit Photo / Associated Press)

I think we took advantage of the good, clean break,” Gutierrez said. “He relaxed. I tried not to fight him, sometimes I fight him and he gives me his head, so my goal today was to let him run comfortable and it paid off. He’s becoming better with age. You can see it on his record. His last few races he’s just given us his all. Right now, he’s fit, he’s ready to run in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Two-time Kentucky Derby winner Doug O’Neill was the trainer.

Defunded finished second followed by Senor Buscador, National Treasure, Skinner, Bye Bye Bobby, Celestial Moon, Piroli and Stilleto Boy.

In one of the other big races of the day, Dr. Schivel won the Grade 2 $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship by a head over Speed Boat Beach.

Dr. Schivel had good credentials entering the race having finished second by a nose in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Mile. He went off as the favorite, paying $6.80 to win. Dr. Schivel broke off the pace and showed a lot of determination down the stretch in the six-furlong race.

Speed Boat Beach, who hadn’t run since December with his last race on the turf, went off as the second favorite with Victor Espinoza aboard. Juan Hernandez rode Dr. Schivel.

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