There is, of course, a story about how Awesome of Course, sire of 2010’s apparent champion juvenile filly Awesome Feather, came to be heading to the stallion barn at Brent and Crystal Fernung’s Journeyman Stud in Ocala, Fla.
One of the reasons is that Brent is widely considered to be a bloodstock genius for selecting and purchasing two mares who became the dams of Kentucky Derby winners before the colts had accomplished that considerable deed.
Fred Brei, who owns Jacks or Better Farm in Florida with his wife Jane, is one of the people who have regard for Brent’s skills in selecting bloodstock, as well as in managing and promoting stallions.
With that in mind, it wasn’t a surprise when Brent Fernung said, “Fred offered to send Awesome of Course to me last spring, but I didn’t have room in the stallion barn.”
But … Fernung recalled: “At the time, Fred mentioned that he had a 2-year-old filly by the stallion who was a freak. In fact, Fred said had an Awesome of Course filly who was better right now than Jackson Bend, who was in really good form at the time.” Journeyman also stands the sire of Jackson Bend, the Carson City stallion Hear No Evil, for the Breis.
Fernung told his would-be benefactor they would be better off waiting to see how the filly turned out. Named Awesome Feather, she won a couple of nice races, and Brei tried once more to interest Fernung in standing his horse. Fernung actually agreed to stand Awesome of Course after the filly won the Florida Stallion Stakes but noted that the Breeders’ Cup would be the clincher for breeder support.
Ever reluctant to add stalls in the stallion barn, Fernung suggested, “Let’s wait and see how she does with the fillies up in Kentucky.”
The filly did pretty well on Breeders’ Cup Friday, winning her sixth race without defeat and wrapping up a championship as leading juvenile filly in the country.
Fernung said, “I called Fred about the time he was in the winner’s circle at Churchill and left a message on his voice mail. Said I was in the stallion barn bedding down a stall.”