Defunded earns Breeders’ Cup trip in Awesome Again S. (G1)

Eaton sales grad Defunded earned a free entry for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) next month at Keeneland with a win in Saturday’s Awesome Again S. (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

Defunded, who bested Dubai World Cup (G1) winner by Country Grammer by 1 ¾-lengths, is  owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman. The group purchased Defunded for $210,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling sale from the Eaton Sales consignment.

The Awesome Again is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifying race for the Classic.

Defunded, who ran second in this year’s Gold Cup (G1), got his breakthrough win in front-running style. Sent hard from the gate, he led the field through fractions of :22.67 and :46.70. On the final bend, Slow Down Andy came along side and then poked his head in front for a few strides at the top of the stretch, when Defunded re-rallied and drew away in the lane to win drawing clear in 1:49.38 for the 1 1/8-miles on a fast track.

“It was a very nice trip,” said winning jockey Edwin Maldonado. “(Trainer Bob Baffert) told me I had a great shot in this race so put him on the lead. And when Bob says you have a shot, you have a shot. I just want to thank Bob and all the connections for the opportunity, I’m grateful to be here.”

Defunded is now 4-3-1 in 12 starts and has earned $418,100. The chestnut 4-year-old was bred in Kentucky by Athens Woods LLC.