Main Sequence came from well off the pace to win the 63rd running of the $535,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO) July 6 at Monmouth Park, covering the 1 3/8 miles in 2:14.23 over a firm course.
The 5-year-old gelding, a Flaxman Holdings homebred by Aldebaran—Ikat, by Privotal, was making his U.S. debut. He had not run since finishing eighth in the QIPCO Champion Stakes (Eng-I) last October. The late rally got him up by a neck over second choice Twilight Eclipse in second. The pacesetting Side Glance was a length back in third.
Main Sequence became the fifth horse this year to earn an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series.
Graham Motion trains Main Sequence, who came into the United Nations with a string of works over the all-weather surface at Fair Hill Training Center, including a 1:02 3/5 move June 28.
"He got quite sick over the winter, so we really waited until he was ready to run," Motion said in the winner's circle. "(Jockey) Ravij (Maragh) did a great job with him. We didn't want him to get to the front too early and he has a tremendous turn of foot.
"Alan Cooper, the racing manger for Flaxman, was really confident in him, so we were hoping for the best," Motion added.
And the best was a score in a grade I, snapping a 10-race loss string, much of it against top company in England and France. At odds of 8-1, Main Sequence's winning time was less than a second off the course record of 2:13.29 established by Pop Panebianco in August 2009.
He was last of nine for the opening half-mile, biding his time in the three-turn race. Maragh tried to keep him relaxed as Side Glance made his way to the front past the wire the first time. The opening quarter-mile went in :24.84 and half in :49.04. Side Glance was tracked by Twilight Eclipse and 3-1 favorite Kaigun, with Manchurian High also in the mix.
The six furlongs went in 1:14.64 and the mile in 1:39.47 as the field bunched up heading into the final turn. Side Glance was trying the take the field the entire way but was challenged by both Twilight Eclipse, who put his head in front near midstretch, and Main Sequence, who was flying on the outside from fourth. The final three-eighths were covered in :34.76 with a final furlong run in :11.33.
"Graham said to get into to a good rhythm and a good flow and take what comes to you naturally," said Maragh. "He's got quite a turn of foot and he didn't quit."
Main Sequence paid $18, $8.60, and $5.60. Twilight Eclipse paid $5 and $3.80. Side Glance returned $4.40 to show. The $2 exacta (5-3) paid $98.40.
Winning Cause was fourth and was followed by Kaigun, Ghurair, Charming Kitten, Exclusive Strike, and Manchurian High.
Lochte, a 10-1 shot on the morning line, was scratched.
Main Sequence last won the Betfred Derby Trial Stakes (Eng-III) on the all-weather at Lingfield in April 2012 before running second to Camelot in the Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I). That year he also placed in the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes (Eng-II). Last year he made six starts with one second and three thirds. Two of the thirds came in group III company. All of his races since the Derby have been at 1 1/4 miles or longer.
With the United Nations win, Main Sequence earned an automatic berth into the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) through the Breeders' Cup Challenge series.
He is the first foal out of Ikat, who was group III-placed in France. She is out of the stakes-winning Burning Sunset and is half sister to group II winner Smoking Gun (by Smart Strike ) and stakes winner Zhiyi (by Henrythenavigator).
Main Sequence has five wins, three seconds, and three thirds from 15 starts. He has now earned $988,386.