Flaxman Holdings' homebred Main Sequence put the cap on a brilliant season Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park, charging to victory by half a length over Flintshire in the $3 million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) (VIDEO).
The 5-year-old Aldebaran gelding has now won four grade I races in a row—the United Nations (gr. IT), Sword Dancer (gr. IT), the Joe Hirsch Classic Invitational (gr. IT), and the Breeders' Cup Turf—and is undefeated since arriving in North America to the barn of trainer Graham Motion this year.
"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.
"I hadn't even thought about Horse of the Year now, but I think he should be. Horses don't win four grade I races in a row like that. How many horses can do that? He has to be one of the best I've trained."
Well back early in the field of 12 for the 1 1/2-mile turf event, Main Sequence and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez were content to settle off the pace as Imagining keenly went on to set a quarter in :25 and a half in :47.76. An eager Hardest Core sailed to the front for three-quarters in 1:11.15, and clocked the mile in 1:36.10 to command the lead turning for home.
Hardest Core was tiring, however, and Main Sequence charged to the front through 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.61 to finish in 2:24.91 on turf rated good.
Off at odds of 6-1, Main Sequence returned $14.40, $5.80, and $4.20, while Flintshire paid $4.80 and $3.60. Twilight Eclipse brought $6.40 to show another half-length back in third, while 8-5 favorite Telescope came in fourth.
"He's run a good race, but the race wasn't really run to suit him," trainer Sir Michael Stoute said of the favorite. "He needs to be able to do it one long progression. He's a long striding horse for a track like this."
Out of the Pivotal mare Ikat, Main Sequence was a group III winner in England in May of 2012 but never broke through at the highest level, despite a runner-up finish in the Epsom Darby (Eng-I) that season. Owner Maria Niarchos said the win was an emotional one for her family's stable.
"This win means a lot because, as you know, we bred the stallion, Aldebaran, and we also bred the mare," Niarchos explained. "So this is a kind of pure family homebred horse. And the good teamwork between David and Graham makes it unique.
"I'm overwhelmed and would like to thank everyone here. And I'm very glad that my family was here, my children, and my nieces and nephew, because they're the future of the sport, and we've got to get the young interested."