“Ajaaweed returned to Shadwell in April 2020 with a suspensory injury in his left rear,” said Rick Nichols, vice president and general manager of Shadwell Farm. “It wasn’t too bad and it healed nicely. He returned to training in September 2020 and has been good so far. He has been training well and Todd expects him to run a big race.”
Brought back to fitness mindfully, the son of Curlin resurfaced in a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park in January–a race he obviously desperately needed. Racing three-wide toward the rear, he ambled home at the tail of the field and got a good air-opener in the process. Returning in March at Aqueduct in a nine-furlong allowance, he came home third in grinding, deliberate fashion that hinted that additional ground would be to his favour.
Taking the cue, Pletcher tried him in the 11-furlong, $100,000 Flat Out Stakes (Listed), where he closed impressively to be second, despite failing to change leads in the stretch. He earned career-high speed figures of 99 (Beyer) and 106 (Equibase) in the process. He now ascends in both trip and class, but appears to have concurrently found his niche. He put an exclamation on that with a bullet five-furlong breeze in 59.44 on May 28.
“We felt like we would handle the added distance and in the Flat Out at a mile and three-eighths, he was still coming at the end,” Pletcher said. “While this is going to be a little more competitive of a race in the Brooklyn, I think the mile and a half will suit him really well.
“I think he’s really improved in the last six weeks or so,” Pletcher continued. “His training has become a lot more willing. He was a little lethargic beforehand, but it seems he’s woken up a lot recently.”