Seek Again (jockey in pink cap) rallied past Grand Arch to win the Fourstardave Handicap on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)
For a few strides in the stretch of the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap it looked like Seek Again was trapped behind a wall of horses and would not get the chance to launch his rally.
Jockey Joel Rosario found an opening, however, and guided Seek Again through. From there the 4-year-old Speightstown colt took care of business on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Seek Again uncoiled a visually impressive burst of speed to seize command and powered past runner-up Grand Arch to win by a neck in a course record time of 1:33.25 for one mile on the inner turf course. The previous course record of 1:33.42 was set by L’Oiseau d’Argent in 2004.
Hall of Famer Bill Mott trains Seek Again, who is a homebred of Juddmonte Farms. His dam (mother) is Grade 1 winner Light Jig, by Danehill.
“The only tense moment was when our horse was trying to find his room at the eighth pole,” Mott said. “I was thinking it could be over at the eighth pole, when I saw he had to alter course two different times. I thought, well, we could be in trouble because it's awful late in the game to have to stop your momentum and go a different direction.”
Courtesy of NYRA
The Fourstardave was not a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race, but Seek Again certainly looked like a serious contender for the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Mile with his electric stretch run in Saturday’s race.
He banked the $300,000 winner’s share of the $500,000 purse and improved to five wins in 11 starts.
Seek Again won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in his first start in the U.S. in December 2013. He was winless in two previous starts in 2014, but both were top-three finishes against elite competition.
Seek Again was second by a head to two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes on the May 3 Kentucky Derby undercard and entered the Fourstardave off a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes on June 7.
Mott was asked why he chose the Fourstardave over the 1 ¼-mile, Grade 1 Arlington Million on Aug. 16 for Seek Again.
“It’s at Saratoga and it's at a distance we wanted to test him on. He’s got some versatility to him,” Mott said. “He can obviously run fast at a mile, but he did win a Grade 1 at a mile and a quarter, and he was third in the Manhattan. I wouldn't have passed up the Arlington Million if I didn’t think he could [succeed at a mile].”
Silver Max set a swift pace as the favorite in the Fourstardave with pressure throughout from Sayaad. Silver Max gave way to Sayaad nearing the stretch after three-quarters of a mile in 1:09.52 and Sayaad ran out of gas shortly thereafter. Silver Max faded to last of six and Sayaad finished fifth.
Grand Arch led briefly in the stretch before Seek Again powered past on the inside. Grand Arch held on gamely for second and finished three-quarters of a length in front of Jack Milton.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
SEEK AGAIN RETURNS TO WINNER'S CIRCLE
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire