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Slow Down Andy Never Slows Down in Awesome Again

Paul Reddam usually texts Andy Redmond in the Bahamas whenever his namesake, Slow Down Andy , runs.

“But then he never wins,” Reddam said. “So today I just kept quiet.”

The result? Slow Down Andy broke on top and sailed home the winner of the 1 1/8-mile Awesome Again Stakes (G1) Oct. 1 at Santa Anita Park. In the process, Slow Down Andy earned a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Though the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) would be another option for Slow Down Andy, Reddam maintained that the Classic “IS the plan.”

Four-year-old Slow Down Andy, owned by Reddam and his wife, Zillah, and trained by Doug O’Neill, gave notice that he could be tough in the Awesome Again when he ran third to 3-year-olds Arabian Knight  and Geaux Rocket Ride  in the Sept. 2 Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar. That paycheck put Slow Down Andy over the $1 million mark. Neither Arabian Knight nor Geaux Rocket Ride entered the Awesome Again.

“This is going to sound like a coach crying, but I was disappointed that one of them didn’t enter here,” Reddam said, “because he had to give them six pounds (in the Pacific Classic), and they would have been equal weights today. In the Breeders’ Cup, they (the 3-year-olds) get four.”

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Instead of Arabian Knight and Geaux Rocket Ride, Slow Down Andy faced the likes of Defunded , winner of April 22 Californian Stakes (G2) and May 29 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita and the defending Awesome Again champ. Defunded, trained by Bob Baffert, finished sixth in the Pacific Classic, but prefers Santa Anita to Del Mar.

Baffert also entered Preakness Stakes (G1) winner National Treasure , who was making his first start against older runners.

Slow Down Andy’s race in the Pacific Classic appealed to bettors, who made him the 2-1 favorite over the Baffert duo. National Treasure went off as the 3-1 second choice, with Defunded 7-2.

When the gate opened, somewhat to Reddam’s surprise, Slow Down Andy and regular pilot Mario Gutierrez went right to the lead.

“I thought the two Bafferts would go,” Paul Reddam said. “I think he just outbroke them. We’ve tried to get him to relax in races, and he’s been rank. Today we said just let him go. Wherever he wants to be, that’s where he wants to be—don’t fight him.”

Gutierrez did exactly that. Slow Down Andy was able to dictate the pace from the front on a track that was wet-fast because of a short burst of rain early in the day. Longshot Celestial Moon  and Defunded stuck fairly close to Slow Down Andy, but the Reddam runner maintained about a length advantage at every call.

“He’s always a good breaker,” Gutierrez said. “I think we took advantage of the good, clean break. 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.”

Slow Down Andy set fractions of :22.97, :46.91, and 1:10.59. By the time Defunded tried to close the gap in the stretch, Slow Down Andy had enough left to pull away away from Defunded, ultimately beating him by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:47.62. San Diego Handicap (G2) winner Senor Buscador , who raced next-to-last early, closed for third, a length behind Defunded and 1 1/2 lengths in front of fourth-place National Treasure.

Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy and jockey Mario Gutierrez, right, draw away in mid-stretch and go on to win the $300,000 Grade I Awesome Again Stakes Saturday, September 30, 2023 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA.    Benoit Photo
Photo: Benoit Photo

Slow Down Andy draws away in mid-stretch of the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park

The Reddams’ bred Slow Down Andy in California, though he is a son of Kentucky sire Nyquist  . The colt is out of the Square Eddie  mare Edwina E . That match has already produced Kentucky-bred Team Merchants , winner of the 2021 Let It Ride Stakes, and the Reddams have had good luck breeding other Square Eddie mares to Nyquist.

As always, Paul Reddam has a good story about the name behind Slow Down Andy.

“He’s named after my friend Andy Redmond, and we play a golf game where you gamble on every hole and you can double the bet like backgammon,” Paul said. “When Andy is in what he perceives as a bad spot, he zooms ahead and hits out of turn.”

The Awesome Again is Slow Down Andy’s fourth stakes victory. He won the 2021 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) and 2022 Sunland Park Derby (G3) and Del Mar Derby (G2T). It has been a dry spell between winner’s circle visits; Slow Down Andy hadn’t won since the Del Mar Derby more than a year ago. However, he ran third in the 2022 Awesome Again and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in addition to his placings in the Pacific Classic and San Diego.

Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy and jockey Mario Gutierrez win the $300,000 Grade I Awesome Again Stakes Saturday, September 30, 2023 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA.    Benoit Photo
Photo: Benoit Photo

Slow Down Andy’s connections in the winner’s circle after the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Slow Down Andy is one of eight 2023 stakes winners sired by Nyquist, who won the 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) for the Reddams after being named the champion 2-year-old male of 2015. Nyquist’s other current stakes winners include Alabama Stakes (G1) winner Randomized . Nyquist stood for a 2023 stud fee of $55,000 at Darley near Lexington.

Video: Awesome Again S. (G1)

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