An evenly matched field of 10, including a 3- year-old, will do battle in Saturday's $250,000 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The 1 1/8-mile race will be without two-time winner Game On Dude.
The Awesome Again is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race which gives the winning horse a guaranteed spot in the $5 million Classic on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
Mucho Macho Man, second to Fort Larned in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, has drawn the far outside post for Saturday with Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens getting the mount.
"He's been training great," said trainer Kathy Ritvo. "He's really smart. He's confident and loves to train."
The 5-year-old has six wins, five seconds and six thirds in 21 career starts for $2,440,410.
The Awesome Again Stakes will be the horse's first start since finishing third to Cross Traffic in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 3. He's winless this year in three starts.
Trainer Bob Baffert, will saddle three for the Awesome Again - Paynter, Liaison and Take Control. Baffert is also the trainer of Game On Dude.
Paynter, fifth in the Woodward at Saratoga on Aug. 31, will break from post 7 with Martin Garcia getting the ride. The 4-year-old was second in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar this summer.
Liaison has the inside post and is reunited with jockey Rafael Bejarano. Take Control will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik from post 6.
The lone 3-year-old is Swaps Stakes winner Chief Havoc, trained by Peter Miller. The colt will start from post 8 with jockey Garrett Gomez.
Here is the field for the Awesome Again in post position order: Liaison, Rafael Bejarano; Golden Ticket, Joe Talamo; Soi Phet, Irving Orozco; Jeranimo, Corey Nakatani; You Know I Know, Julien Leparoux; Take Control, Rosie Napravnik; Paynter, Martin Garcia; Chief Havoc, Garrett Gomez; Summer Hit, Edwin Maldonado and Mucho Macho Man, Gary Stevens.
Post-time for the Awesome Again Stakes will be approximately 8:30 p.m. (ET).