Seeking the Soul Mows Them Down Late in Stephen Foster

8th at CD , $600,000GII Stephen Foster H. (1 1/8m)Winner: Seeking the Soul, h, 6 by Perfect Soul (Ire)

Seeking the Soul (Perfect Soul {Ire}) came charging down the stretch to fight past a game ‘TDN Rising Star’ Quip (Distorted Humor) by a neck in Saturday evening’s GII Stephen Foster S., a ‘Win and You’re In’ for the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic, beneath the lights at Churchill Downs.

The hard-knocking 6-year-old, off at odds of 9-2, raced in some traffic covered up while placed within striking distance in sixth as Tom’s d’Etat (Smart Strike) narrowly led Quip through easy fractions of :24.60 and :49.43. Locked and loaded on the far turn, John Velazquez threaded the needle as they straightened and Seeking the Soul punched home nicely to grind down Quip for a narrow decision. Tom’s d’Etat stayed on for third. Favored Gift Box (Twirling Candy) was fourth after a wide trip.

Seeking the Soul’s loaded resume includes wins in Churchill’s 2017 GI Clark H. and 2018 GIII Ack Ack S. as well as runner-up finishes behind City of Light (Quality Road) in last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. Jan. 26. Eighth in the G1 Dubai World Cup Mar. 30, he prepped for this with a third-place finish in the local GII Alysheba S. May 3.

“We will definitely be in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this year,” winning trainer Dallas Stewart said. “This horse is so special to our entire barn. We have to thank Mr. Fipke for allowing us to train him. With family and friends here tonight, this is as good as it gets–we’re in the Classic.”

Velazquez added, “He ran really well here the last time out, and we knew coming from Dubai he probably wasn’t going to be 100%. Today, he was right back to where he normally is, high energy. As soon as I broke out there and got into the first turn, he was a little more aggressive than I want him to be. He’s never been that close in the first part of the race. But I got him back to where I wanted him to be, got comfortable where he was, and then down the stretch, pulling out, he had it.”

Pedigree Notes:

Fipke homebred Seeking the Soul is a homegrown product through and through. His sire, Perfect Soul (Ire), was bred by Fipke out of the Secretariat mare Ball Chairman, whom Fipke purchased at the 1994 Keeneland November sale for $180,000. Perfect Soul became a champion grass horse in Canada, as well as a Grade I winner in America for Fipke, and now has seven stakes winners, including 2011 GI Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Perfect Shirl (also for Fipke). Seeking the Soul’s dam, Seeking the Title (Seeking the Gold), was a GSW for Fipke after he purchased her dam Title Seeker (Monarchos) for $1.7 million in 2006 as an unraced 3-year-old. Seeking the Gold has been among the leading broodmare sires of the last two decades, with the dams of 167 stakes winners to date, including champions Blame, Surfside, Take Charge Brandi and 10 others. Seeking the Title’s granddam is 1996 Broodmare of the Year and undefeated champion older mare Personal Ensign (Private Account), who singlehandedly established a powerhouse legacy of stakes performers.

Saturday, Churchill Downs
STEPHEN FOSTER S.-GII, $600,000, Churchill Downs, 6-15, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:49.27, ft.
1–SEEKING THE SOUL, 121, h, 6, by Perfect Soul (Ire)
1st Dam: Seeking the Title (GSW, $274,916), by Seeking the Gold
2nd Dam: Title Seeker, by Monarchos
3rd Dam: Personal Ensign, by Private Account
($37,000 RNA 2yo ’15 OBSOPN). O/B-Charles Fipke (KY);
T-Dallas Stewart; J-John R. Velazquez. $345,960. Lifetime
Record: GISW, 27-7-6-7, $3,335,802. Werk Nick Rating: A++.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Quip, 123, c, 4, Distorted Humor–Princess Ash, by IndianCharlie.TDN Rising StarO-WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse
Club International Ltd. & SF Racing LLC; B-WinStar Farm, LLC
(KY); T-Rodolphe Brisset. $111,600.
3–Tom’s d’Etat, 121, h, 6, Smart Strike–Julia Tuttle, by Giant’s
Causeway. ($330,000 Ylg ’14 KEESEP). O-G M B Racing; B-SF
Bloodstock LLC (KY); T-Albert M. Stall, Jr. $55,800.
Margins: NK, 1 3/4, 5 3/4. Odds: 4.60, 13.90, 4.50.
Also Ran: Gift Box, Thirstforlife, Yoshida (Jpn), Exulting, Runaway Ghost, Tenfold, King Zachary, Alkhaatam, Rated R Superstar.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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