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The following post appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.

While the heavy heads were trading blows and taking headlines at Saratoga, the quietly successful stallion Awesome of Course was racking up a pair of stakes winners in the Dr. Fager and Desert Vixen divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder. The colts’ division went to Fort Loudon, and the filly division went to Redbud Road. Both of the winners are bred and owned by Jacks or Better Farm, which also raced Awesome of Course.

Jacks or Better even stood Awesome of Course when he went to stud, but now that the stallion has earned greater attention from breeders, he is standing at Journeyman Stud to larger books of mares.

Awesome of Course, of course, is the sire of last year’s champion juvenile filly, Awesome Feather, who included the stallion stakes series in her unbeaten 2-year-old season.

So, even though these races are restricted, sometimes the talent in them is far from it.

And Awesome of Course is making a serious mark for himself as a sire of precocious, quick, and talented stock. From very small crops, averaging fewer than eight foals each for his first five seasons at stud, he has gotten horses who show their talent early and emphatically.

The 11-year-old son of Awesome Again was not a household name when he went to stud, and that he got any chance as a stallion at all is solely due to the faith in him that owner Jacks or Better Farm showed by sending nice mares to the horse.

Fort Loudon, for instance, is out of the major stakes winner Lottsa Talc. A daughter of the very good stallion Talc, Lottsa Talc won 21 of 65 starts and earned $1,206,248. Tough, as well as talented, she twice won at the Grade 2 level as she matured and developed through a long career.

With that kind of racing performance, she was bred first to high-end Kentucky stallions. The results were no better than average. Her first foal was an unraced colt by Unbridled’s Song. The second and third were the multiple winners by Wild Again and Tabasco Cat.

The mare was then employed as a mate for less high-profile beasts like Slew Gin Fizz, Monsieur Cat, and Hear No Evil. Those results were no better than the Kentucky horses.

Then Jacks or Better tried her with Awesome of Course, and now she is the dam of an early-maturing stakes winner at six furlongs.

But whereas Fort Loudon is the eighth foal out of Lottsa Talc, the Desert Vixen winner Redbud Road is the third foal from her dam, the Tactical Advantage mare Ladyinareddress.

A stakes winner like Lottsa Talc, Ladyinareddress won two of 20 starts, including the Office Queen Stakes. Bred in Florida by Jacks or Better, Ladyinareddress is one of 17 stakes winners by the Forty Niner stallion Tactical Advantage, a powerful horse who found some success as a sire in Florida.

Ladyinareddress is also one of three stakes winners out of her dam, the Cox’s Ridge mare Nizy. The mare’s other stakes winners are Toboggan Handicap winner Home on the Ridge (by Homebuilder) and the Florida sire Hear No Evil (by Carson City), whose most notable racer to date is Jackson Bend. That colt won the three colt stakes in the Florida stallion stakes series in 2009 and then finished second in the G1 Wood Memorial and G2 Fountain of Youth, as well as third in the G1 Preakness, in 2010.

The dam of Jackson Bend is the Tabasco Cat mare Sexy Stockings, the winning daughter of Lottsa Talc mentioned above. The folks at Jacks or Better like to play a careful game, but when they have a winning hand, they are game enough to back it up.

Both Jackson Bend’s sire, Hear No Evil, and Awesome of Course stand at Brent and Crystal Fernung’s Journeyman Stud, where they covered full books of mares this year.

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