Speightown's Seek Again, making both his graded stakes and U.S. debut, found his best stride in deep stretch en route to a length and a half victory in Sunday's $251,000 Hollywood Derby (G1).
The Juddmonte Farms homebred was coming off a win in the Coral Mobile S. Oct. 12 at York, in Great Britain. Breaking well within himself, Seek Again was parked near the back of the nine-horse field for the first six furlongs, which went in 1:13.20. Corey Nakatani sent the chestnut colt up the rail coming into the homestretch, then blasted past pacesetter Rookie Sensation with a furlong to go to win drawing away.
The final time for the 1 1/4-miles on the firm turf was 2:00.60.
“We didn’t clear quarantine until Saturday morning, so it’s not been ideal,’’ said winning trainer John Gosden’s assistant Les Reynolds. “We just jogged around once Saturday. I thought maybe he needed a couple of more days, but we were always happy with him.
“(Nakatani) gave him a great ride. We were worried there was going to be no pace, but (that wasn't the case).
“I told Corey to make sure he changed leads because he might be a little inexperienced against these guys, but he did it well and I’m very, very pleased.’’
Out of the mare Light Jig, a multiple graded stakes winner for Juddmonte whose successes included the 2004 Beverly Hills H. at Hollywood Park for the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, Seek Again won for the fourth time in eight starts. The $150,000 payday pushed his bankroll to $219,030.
Reynolds added that Seek Again will remain in the United States for his 4-year-old campaign. The chestnut will be shipped Monday to the barn of trainer Bill Mott.
“I was extremely confident,’’ said Nakatani. “Any time you see the Juddmonte colors and a horse shipping from England, you know they’re going to have a big turn of foot and it’s just a matter if they can handle the tighter turns. He seemed to handle it.”
Seek Again is Speightstown's fifth Grade or Group 1 winner in 2013, continuing a remarkable year for the WinStar stallion. Speightstown ranks first or second in several catergories on this year's General Sire list, including progreny earnings ($10.7 million), Grade 1 winners (6), stakes winners (22), stakes wins (33), and repeat winners (78).