Never out of the money in his three prior starts in the
U.S., Seek Again entered the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap at
Saratoga respected but not favored to win thanks to the front running presence of Silver Max.
When that one hit a brick wall after being pressured throughout the entirety of
the race, Seek Again was waiting to pounce. Overcoming a troubled stretch run,
the Grade 1 winner at ten furlongs slipped through on the rail and posted a
neck victory in track record time.
As expected, favored Silver Max
went straight to the lead from his rail position. Sayaad took up position in
second followed by Grand Arch, Seek Again, Dorsett and Jack Milton. With Jose
Ortiz up, Sayaad allowed Silver Max a clear lead into the clubhouse turn, but
the duo ratcheted up the pressure in the backstretch, forcing Silver Max to put
up the half in :46.18 after getting the opening quarter in :23.33.
Entering the far turn, Sayaad
increased his pressure on Silver Max yet again, snatching the lead from that
foe by the top of the lane. Racing stride for stride, the front-running pair
ensured that the pace was strong, hitting the ¾-mile call in 1:09.52. They were
then both joined by Grand Arch to their outside, and with those three lined up
across the track, Seek Again was left searching for racing room. As Silver Max
spit the bit on the rail, the chestnut attempted to take his place in that lane
but was temporarily shut off by Sayaad. Jockey Joel Rosario was patient,
however, and the rail opened back up within seconds, giving Seek Again a clear
shot at victory.
Racing quarters were tight as the wire loomed, but Seek
Again to the inside and Grand Arch
to the outside continued to drive for home with Sayaad backing out of it late.
Seek Again had the measure of his foe, though, and hit the wire the winner by a
neck. Grand Arch finished ¾-length ahead of Jack Milton, who squeaked out the third place finish by a neck over
fourth place finisher Dorsett. Front-runners Sayaad and Silver Max finished 5th
and 6th respectively.
"We had a lucky trip," said winning jockey Rosario. "He showed up today. At first, there wasn't a lot of room [along the rail]. I had to stay there because he likes to run a lot that way, that's his style. He's a good horse, he fires all the time. When he sees a horse in front of him, he comes to get [him]. So we had the winner today."
The final time for the one mile turf event was 1:33.25, a new
track record. Bill Mott, the Hall of Fame trainer responsible for setting Seek Again up to fire his best shot, stated, "They went along and set an honest pace, and you have to have an honest pace to set the track record. I thought he got away well, and going into the first turn I was hoping Sayaad would eventually put a little pressure on Silver Max, which he did. When he left the half-mile pole, he started to turn it up, and he was looking for his best chance to win the race, and it amounted to a good fast pace for us."
As the 2-1 second choice in the compact field, Seek Again paid
$6.70/$3.80/$3.10. Off 23-2 odds, Seek Again returned $8.00/$3.70, and Jack
Milton paid $2.90 for the show off 3-1 odds. The $2 exacta returned $55.50, the
$2 trifecta paid $156.00 and the $2 superfecta was worth $762.00.
A homebred for owner Juddmonte Farms, Seek Again is by Speightstown and out of the Danehill mare Light
Jig. Today’s victory improved the colt’s record to 11: 5-3-1 for total purse
earnings of $725,259. A four-year old, Seek Again began his career across the
pond but really hit his best stride when he arrived stateside. He won his U.S.
debut, the 1 ¼ mile Hollywood Derby (turf), by 1 ½ lengths back in December. He
followed that up by giving champion Wise Dan all he could handle and then some in the 1 1/8 mile Grade 1 Woodford
Reserve Turf Classic back in May before running a solid 3rd in the 1
¼ mile Grade 1 Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes in June.
The Fourstardave seemed like an odd choice for a colt that had had previous success at 1 1/4 mile, but Mott had his reasons for choosing this particular spot. "It's a good purse, it's at Saratoga, and it's a distance we wanted to test him on," Mott explained. "He's got some versatility to him. 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]." That success opened up the door for more possibilities for the colt's next start, which has not yet been set in stone.