Since arriving at trainer Graham Motion’s stable from England last winter, Main Sequence is a perfect four-for-four. He capped off his brilliant season in the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf by rallying wide and storming down the stretch to take the lead in the final sixteenth and to hold off the stubborn Brit Flintshire to win the 1 1/2 mile race in 2:24.91. The victory was his fourth consecutive Grade-1 triumph.
“I was going so good,” jockey John Velazquez said. “My concern was getting the horse to the lead too early.”
“I thought at the top of the stretch he would win,” Motion added. “It all worked out so well. The only question was whether he got to the front too early.”
A 5-year-old gelding, Main Sequence is owned by the Niarchos family (Flaxman's Holdings). He has trained at the Fair Hill Training Center throughout 2014. His victory in the $3 million race gave Motion his second Breeders’ Cup Turf win, who won the BC Turf a decade ago at Lone Star Park with then stable star Better Talk Now. Known as "Blackie," Better Talk Now is still at FHTC keeping an eye on things.
As customary, Main Sequence was well back early in the field of twelve. He made steady progress on the far turn and was seventh with a quarter-mile remaining, trailing the leader, Chester County's Hardest Core, by about 3 1/2 lengths. With Hardest Core tiring Main Sequence began closing on the leaders. Flintshire (3-1) led narrowly over Telescope (8-5) with a furlong remaining, but neither could hold off Main Sequence who blew by the two Euros to win by a neck in a time of 2:24.9.
The Arlington Million winner, Hardest Core-- owned by the Bentley family and trained by Eddie Graham-- got a bizarre ride from Parx jockey Eriluis Vaz. The strapping bay sailed to the front at the three-quarters pole running a swift 1:11.15, clocked the mile in 1:36.10 and took the lead turning for home. Tiring down the stretch Hardest Core finished eighth by five lengths.
Since last summer Main Sequence has won the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park in July, the Sword Dancer at Saratoga in August, and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park on Sept. 27.
"He did everything so well and so easily today," Motion said. "He broke really well and went on from there and did everything great. It really was a team effort (with the previous trainer in England, David Lanigan) and the horse has been spectacular. He's really suited to American racing and he just gets better and better. He's a very impressive horse."
Ten years ago Better Talk Now put Motion on the map as a skilled conditioner.
"When you start winning Breeders' Cup races, that puts you at a different level," Motion remarked. "I'm so fortunate to train for Maria (Niarchos) and the family. I grew up watching their horses run as a kid. It was a name that was very special. When I first started training for them, quite honestly, I had to pinch myself. I can't say enough about this horse. What he's accomplished in a very short space of time here is remarkable."
Main Sequence is likely to be rested for the remainder of the year with a trip to Dubai in March for an early season target in 2015. With the BC Turf victory, Main Sequence surely locked up the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding turf horse. With the scrambled results of Bayern, California Chrome and Shared Belief in 2014, Main Sequence should also be a strong candidate for the Horse of the Year title.
"I hadn't even thought about Horse of the Year now, but I think he should be," Motion stated. "Horses don't win four Grade-1 races in a row like that. How many horses can do that? He has to be one of the best I've trained."
Main Sequence's 2014 resume looks quite a bit like Wise Dan's in 2012 and 2013 when he was voted by racing journalists and executives Horse of the Year. So, why not?