Flaxman Holdings' homebred two-time Eclipse Award winner Main Sequence powered to victory in his season debut Feb. 21, taking the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park with an impressive kick in the final furlong (VIDEO).
The 6-year-old Aldebaran gelding ran down determined rival Twilight Eclipse after tracking well back in the 1 3/8-mile turf test, winning by three-quarters of a length. He will now head to Dubai for a start in the March 28 Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-IT).
Reunited with jockey Rajiv Maragh and making his first start since capping a sterling season in the Nov. 2 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), Main Sequence completed the 1 1/8-mile test in 2:15.06 on firm course to earn his fifth straight graded stakes score for trainer Graham Motion.
"I was a little concerned at the top of the stretch because it looked like (Rajiv) kind of asked him and they motored away from him a little bit," Motion said. "But once he got that turn of foot going, he's gone. There's not much stopping him.
"Every time he's run, to me, he's improved. Every race—knock on wood—he's come out of it a little better. I just loved the way he behaved today. That was exciting to see him like that."
Last season, the brilliant chestnut swept four grade I races in a row, concluding with that victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He was named champion turf horse and champion older horse at the end of the year.
"He's a superstar," Maragh remarked. "I never remember getting that feeling from any other horse. He blows your socks off the way he finishes. He's a 'wow' horse, definitely."
Maragh kept Main Sequence well back off a slow early pace set by Change of Command, who went a quarter in :26.07 and a half in :50.92 while maintaining about a length advantage over Twilight Eclipse. It was then that Maragh sent the champ on his way, shifting out through three-quarters in 1:16.17 and hitting the far turn four wide with plenty of work to do to catch the leaders.
"He's a very maneuverable horse," Maragh said. "Early in the race, I just wanted to play it like a regular race and let it unfold. By the second turn, I could tell they were going slow and getting bunched up a bit, so on the backstretch, I decided any shot that I got to get to the outside, I was going to take it. When the opportunity presented itself at the half-mile (and) five-eighths pole, I just took it, and from there on it was clear sailing."
Main Sequence ran down Twilight Eclipse, the 2014 Mac Diarmida winner who had taken the lead in pursuit of a second victory, through a 1:40.20 mile while finishing with a late rush. It was the fifth straight race in which Twilight Eclipse has finished either second or third to Main Sequence.
Main Sequence returned $3.40, $2.20, and $2.10 as the 3-5 favorite and 123-pound highweight in a group of eight older horses, followed home by Twlight Eclipse ($2.80, $2.40) and Change of Command ($2.40). Money Talker, Divine Oath, Artic North, Shiva Ryan, and Marqueteer completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky out of the Pivotal mare Ikat, Main Sequence has not been defeated since coming to North America last spring. He began his career in Europe with 14 starts in Europe before launching his stateside career last July. He improved his record to 9-3-3 from 19 outs, with earnings of $3,418,666.