Award Wanted called on all her heart and determination and fended off a host of challengers to win the Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park on Saturday, May 27 in an 18-1 upset.
Sent off as the biggest longshot in the five-horse field, Award Wanted broke well from post position four under Angel Cruz and made her way to the rail and the lead. Kentucky shipper Traverse moved to engage with her on the first turn, and put a half-length in front as they entered the backstretch. However, Award Wanted, racing to Traverse’s inside, re-bid for the front as they neared the half-mile point, and began to gain an advantage on that rival as the race progressed.
At the top of the stretch, Award Wanted has dispersed of Traverse and built up a two-length lead. However, 1-5 choice Morning Matcha, coming off a stakes victory at Parx, had enjoyed a good trip stalking the pace on the rail and took her shot at Award Wanted in the final eighth. Morning Matcha continued to gain ground in the last sixteenth, but under vigorous urging from Cruz, Award Wanted called on all she had. She had just enough left in the tank, hitting the wire a nose in front to complete the surprise win. The final time for 1 1/16 miles over a track that was labeled “fast” but had been playing slow in recent days was 1:49.28.
This is the second stakes win of the year for Award Wanted, and her first in open company. She won the Geisha Stakes over Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired runners at Laurel Park in January, and was stakes-placed three times at the winter and spring meets. Her Obeah win boosted her career record to 10-8-7 from 35 starts, with career earnings of $487,950.
The 6-year-old daughter of Macho Uno originally raced for her breeder, Dr. Alexandro Rubim Dias, and was claimed for $16,000 by her current owners, No Guts No Glory Farm and Erica Upton, and trainer Jerry Robb at Laurel in February 2021.
Award Wanted is the second foal out of the multiple stakes-placed Cherokee’s Boy mare Touring Hong Kong, whose first foal, V. I. P. Ticket (Windsor Castle), was a two-time stakes winner at Charles Town and earned $310,195 in his 34-race career. Touring Hong Kong’s most recently reported foal is a yearling colt by Always Dreaming.