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HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

Main Sequence and Motion Add a Victory in the Sword Dancer

Main Sequence wins 2014 Sword Dancer.
Photo: chelsea durand, nyra

Main Sequence charged down the Saratoga stretch to pass the very game pace setter, Imagining, to win the Sword Dancer (G1) and earn a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf through the “Win and You’re In” Challenge series.

The victory comes ten years after Main Sequence’s trainer, H. Graham Motion, won his very first grade one stakes in the 2004 Sword Dancer with Better Talk Now. Better Talk Now also went on to earn Motion his first Breeders’ Cup victory. Ten years later very little has changed as Motion talked after today’s Sword Dancer, “We have got to enjoy this, but we have to think about the Breeders’ Cup, that has to be the goal.”

Main Sequence has had a tendency to break slowly throughout his career and today was no different as the Aldebaran gelding took his time leaving the gate. “Even though he didn’t do it last time [break slowly], we were worried about it,” said Motion. “It’s just what he has done his whole life. Spotting these kind of horses those kind of lengths is obviously a concern.”

The early fractions for the mile and a half contest were quite brisk. The first quarter went in :23.38 and the half in :47.15. The Phipps Stable’s Imagining, took control of the early pace as Twilight Eclipse stayed right on his hip. After the first three quarters went in 1:12.60, Main Sequence was sitting towards the back of the seven-horse field.

Going around the clubhouse turn you could see that jockey Rajiv Maragh was beginning to make his move on Main Sequence. The mile went in 1:37.58 and Imagining was still going strong on the lead. Down the middle of the track came Maragh and Main Sequence in a steady and determined drive. It took the entire 12 furlongs as they were able to get the win just before the wire in an impressive final time of 2:24.72.  Motion summed the race up, “The fast pace made me feel much better. What a job Rajiv did on this horse to wait that long.”

As the winner hit the wire, track announcer Tom Durkin succinctly described Main Sequence’s race, “He had a hesitant start, but a powerful finish.”

Main Sequence, who came into the Sword Dancer having won his first North American start in the Untied Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park, was sent off as the betting favorite and paid $6.10. The exacta with the second place finisher and second betting choice, Imagining, paid $21.60 for a $2 bet.


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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.


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