Winner of the Queen’s Plate by almost four lengths at Woodbine in 1997, Awesome Again captured the world’s richest race the following year when he scored a dramatic victory in the $5.12 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in Louisville. He went to stud at Adena Springs Farm in Versailles, Ky., in 1999 with career earnings of $4.3 million, a money-earning record for a Canadian-bred and a lifetime race-record of nine wins and two thirds in 12 starts.
More importantly, though, he made breeding history in 2004 when two of his sons, Ghostzapper and Wilko, won Breeders’ Cup races, the first time a Classic winner sired two Breeders’ Cup winners in one afternoon. Ghostzapper won the rich Classic, and Wilko the Juvenile at Lone Star. Ghostzapper was undefeated that season and was North America’s Horse of the Year. Awesome Again is also the sire of the multiple graded stakes winning filly Round Pond, winner of the Gr.1 Acorn. His stud fee in 2006 was $125,000.
Owned and bred by Frank Stronach of Newmarket, Ont., Awesome Again upset probably the greatest field in Breeders’ Cup history, a 10-horse field that included eight millionaires. Trailing him across the finish line that day were Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, European champion Swain, Belmont Stakes’ winners Victory Gallop and Touch Gold, Horse of the Year Skip Away, who had won the Classic the year before, and South American champion, Gentlemen. Jockey Pat Day, who had kept the colt far off the early pace, made his move in the stretch and took advantage of a hole that was created when Swain bore out badly and Silver Charm drifted as well. Awesome Again got the lead in the final few yards, beating Silver Charm by less than a length.
Awesome Again, a son of Canadian champion sire Deputy Minister, enjoyed a perfect 6-for-6 season in 1998. Besides his win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he won the Hawthorne Gold Cup in Chicago, the Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap, the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga, N.Y., the Stephen Foster and an allowance race at Churchill Downs. Unraced at two, he broke his maiden in California at Hollywood before shipping east to Woodbine for the Queen’s Plate. The bay colt then won the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga before a third-place finish in the Travers Stakes.
Awesome Again is out of the *Blushing Groom mare Primal Force and is a half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Macho Uno.
Awesome Again sired Paynter, runner up in the 2012 Belmont Stakes was named the Secretariat “Vox Populai” award which recognizes a horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the general public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year. Paynter overcame huge odds to come back from life-threatening colitis, laminitis in three hooves and colon surgery to remove abscesses that were causing serious infection and fevers.
Awesome Again’s stallion career concluded in 2019 and he was re-located to Old Friends in October 2020. His passing at age 26 was announced by Old Friends on December 16, 2020.