Maragh wins with perfectly timed finish
SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (CMC):
Jamaican jockey Rajiv Maragh conjured up a strong stretch drive to carry favourite Main Sequence to the capture of the US$500,000 Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes at the Saratoga Race Course on Sunday.
Sitting off the pace for most of the 11/2 mile trip, Maragh challenged in the stretch and barely got up in time to beat 2-1 chance Imagining by a head in two minutes, 24.72 seconds.
The victory was the second straight for the Graham Motion-trained horse, who also won the United Nation Stakes at Monmouth last month.
"Coming off the turn, he was like, 'Let's go,' so we went. He was full of run," Maragh said.
"I know we were catching two good horses and they weren't going to go down too easily. But he was full of run and it seemed like we might have just gotten there right on time."
Main Sequence had a poor start, bumping the gate on the break to trail the field with Perfect Timber as Imagining and O'Prado Ole disputed the lead. The duo posted a respectable 23.38 seconds for the quarter, 47.15 for the half-mile, and 1:12.60 for the mile.
Imagining took over the sole lead after the mile marker, with Twilight Eclipse in pursuit, as Maragh quickened with Main Sequence in a bright run on the outside.
In the stretch, Imagining held off Twlight Eclipse, but Main Sequence caught the Joel Rosario mount at the wire with a marvellous late burst.
The victory was one of two on the day's card for Maragh, who won race two over 61/2 furlongs, with 3-1 bet Go Olivia Go, beating the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares by five lengths.