A few days ago our delighted anticipation of many good times with Awesome Again changed abruptly to inconsolable sadness when the great athlete and sire suddenly died. The reason was not apparent and necropsy results are pending. Though he spent such a sadly short time with at Old Friends, for many years Awesome Again was such a towering presence in the Kentucky Bluegrass that the many people who saw him at Adena Springs knew, respected, and loved him.
His resume is beyond impressive. By Deputy Minister out of Primal Force (by Blushing Groom) who also foaled Macho Uno, Awesome Again was bred and raced by Stronach Stables, trained by David Hofmans, then Patrick Byrne, and ridden to his greatest victories by Mike Smith in 1997 and Pat Day in 1998. His most prestigious wins include the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), 1998 Whitney H (G1), 1998 Stephen Foster H (G2), 1998 Saratoga Breeders’ Cup H (G2), 1998 Hawthorne Gold Cup (G3), 1997 Jim Dandy S (G2), and 1997 Queen’s Plate. He vanquished such greats as Silver Charm, Touch Gold (also by Deputy Minister), and Skip Away. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.
After his four year old campaign, he entered stud at Adena Springs and achieved even more lasting status as a sire of champions whose influence will be seen in pedigrees for generations to come. His best progeny include Horse of the Year and influential sire Ghostzapper, Game On Dude, Breeders’ Cup winners Round Pond, Ginger Punch and Wilko, Preakness winner Oxbow, Belmont winner Sir Winston, and top flight graded stakes winners Paynter, Awesome Gem, Spun Sugar, Toccet, Bravazo, and other formidable achievers.
Losing such a great horse is hard. But Awesome Again was more than that. He was such a personality, so calm, so in command, so professional and smart and gracious, that we’d already come to love him deeply. I know many of you reading this also loved him and hoped to visit him soon. Whether you knew him much longer and better than we did, or through visits to Adena Springs, or through his exceptional sons and daughters, his effect on all who came in contact with him was unforgettable.
This photo and video, “Remembering Awesome Again,” doesn’t begin to do him justice. With tours suspended for the winter and our staff and volunteers taking care to observe pandemic precautions, not so many people were fortunate enough to photograph him at Old Friends, and those photos that are available are mostly of his head looking out of his stall window, or at dusk, or in the fly mask he wore for the first few days to protect his eyes from irritation. I’ve done my best to pay him tribute, but his dignity, graciousness and charisma deserve more. We’re heartbroken. We were deeply honored to have been his home for awhile.
Photos of Awesome Again
at Old Friends by Laura Battles