Read Contender Award Winner Thriving In Southern California Weather

Relocating to California has proven to be a good move for Award Winner, a 5-year-old son of Ghostzapper bred and owned by John and Jerry Amerman and trained by David Hofmans.

Four starts at Santa Anita since shipping in from the Midwest produced runner-up results in January and February and a victory in March, all at the allowance level, then an upset victory in the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham on May 29.

Prior to his recent back-to-back victories, Award Winner was winless in nine starts dating back to May of 2019.

What happened?

“When he got out here, I think he really liked the firm turf,” Hofmans said. “I think that’s what really helped him more than anything else. I don’t think he likes anything soft.”

Award Winner, with a record of four wins in 17 lifetime starts and earnings of $328,474, will be sent out seeking third straight win and a second straight Grade 2 score in Saturday’s $250,000 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar. At 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, it’s a furlong shorter than the Whittingham but over the firm grass footing that the gelding seems to relish.

“He’s coming into this race really well, but it’s a tough one,” Hofmans said. “Dropping back in distance is not to our advantage. I would prefer to go farther, but the only longer race here is the Del Mar Handicap, which is another month away.

“I’m kind of hoping he can rate like he did in his last race and then finish. He’s a free-running horse who likes to be up close. I’m just a little cautious because a mile and an eighth might be a little short for him.”

Award Winner was campaigned in the East and Midwest by trainer Brian Lynch through September of last year and moved to Hofmans’ stables at Santa Anita in January. Hofmans trained Award Winner’s dam, Devine Actress, for the Amermans.

“He came in in good condition,” Hofmans said. “But I think that maybe he didn’t like the weather back there or something because when he got here he just started gaining weight and getting better and better.”

The field from the rail with riders and morning line odds:

  1. Vintage Print (Adam Beschizza, 20-1)
  2. United (Flavien Prat, 5-2)
  3. Say the Word (Mike Smith, 3-1)
  4. Count Again (Joe Bravo, 5-1)
  5. Award Winner (Juan Hernandez, 8-1)
  6. Smooth Like Strait (Umberto Rispoli, 9-5)
  7. Restrainedvengengence (Tyler Baze, 10-1)

The post Read Contender Award Winner Thriving In Southern California Weather appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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