He hits the ball deep into center field, and comes within inches of a home run all too often. The wind must have been blowing in from center again on Sunday as Awesome Gem finished a hard luck second in the Longacres Mile Handicap (G3) on at Emerald Downs.  The second place finish is the 11th of the 6-year-old gelding's successful career.

Awesome Gem broke well and assumed his position well behind the front runners.  The leaders sizzled through an opening quarter in 21.80, a half mile in 44.00, and six furlongs in 1:07.60. The pace scenario was ideal, but our luck was not. Under jockey Russell Baze, Awesome Gem raced wide throughout the entire contest. At the top of the stretch he unleashed an energetic rally but was forced six wide. He ended up bumping a tiring horse in the stretch and finished second, a diminishing three-quarters of a lengths shy of the victory.

Trainer Craig Dollase said after the race, "He ran a great race. If we have a better trip we get our picture taken. He was widest throughout and got up for second on pure heart."

Jockey Russell Baze agreed that the gelding ran superbly. "It's a shame.  People are going to look at the race and say he finished second in another graded stake.  He's not that horse.  With all the ground he lost it was going to be impossible to get there.  He got second on heart and class.  This horse is very talented.  He just needs some breaks to one day go his way."

Awesome Gem earned $60,000 for his effort, bringing his lifetime earnings to over $1.4 million. He has 5 wins and 11 second place finishes from 28 career starts.  If all goes well, he will tentatively point for the $1,00.000 Pacific Classic(G1) on September 6th at Del Mar.