Seeking the Soul Narrowly Best in Clark

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11th at CD , $500kGI Clark H. (1 1/8m)Winner: Seeking the Soul, c, 4 by Perfect Soul (Ire)

Seeking the Soul | Coady

Owner/breeder Chuck Fipke, trainer Dallas Stewart and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez teamed up for a big score just three weeks ago, capturing the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff with homebred Forever Unbridled (Unbridled's Song). The trio proved to be a successful combination yet again Friday, scoring a 7-1 upset in Churchill Downs's prestigious GI Clark H. with Seeking the Soul (Perfect Soul {Ire}).

Away in good order, the homebred sat back in a ground-saving sixth as GI Jockey Club Gold Cup hero Diversify (Bellamy Road) cruised through early fractions of :23.34 and :47.35. Advancing a bit on the backstretch run, the bay attempted to slip through on the rail in early stretch, but was blocked by Diversify and forced to switch out a path and split rivals to take command. Diversify tried to stick with him, but soon gave way. Previous Clark victor Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday) and GII Jim Dandy winner Good Samaritan (Harlan's Holiday) came charging up the outside with the latter briefly looking like he might just get there, but Seeking the Soul held on by a half-length at the wire. Hoppertunity completed the trifecta and Diversify held on for fourth.

“It's a great honor to win a race like this for Mr. Fipke and Dallas,” said Velazquez, who was celebrating his birthday Friday. “It's been a really good month.”

“It's been a great month,” Stewart said. “I'm so happy to win another Grade I for Mr. Fipke. He's allowed me to space out his races and I think that's helped in his development. It was a great effort and a great accomplishment to win the Clark.”

Third in last term's GIII Smarty Jones S., Seeking the Soul captured a nine-panel allowance at Saratoga in July and checked in third to reopposing MGSW Destin (Giant's Causeway), who finished sixth here, in another 1 1/8-mile test at the Spa Aug. 23. Completing the trifecta again in the track-and-trip GIII Lukas Classic Sept. 30, the bay romped by nine lengths in a Keeneland optional claimer last time Oct. 21.

Pedigree Notes:

Fipke purchased Seeking the Soul's second dam Title Seeker, an unraced daughter of undefeated Hall of Famer Personal Ensign, for $1.7 million carrying her first foal by Seeking the Gold at the 2006 Keeneland November sale. The resulting foal was the winner's dam Seeking the Title, who captured the 2010 GIII Iowa Oaks for Fipke and Stewart and placed third in that year's GI Gazelle S. Seeking the Soul is the second foal out of Seeking the Title, who has since produced his 2-year-old full-brother Perfect Seeker. The 10-year-old mare's 2016 foal by Not Bourbon died and she failed to get back in foal to that stallion for this year. She was bred back to fellow Fipke homebred and Canadian champion Perfect Soul earlier this term.

Personal Ensign is also the dam of MGISW millionaire My Flag, who in turn produced champion Storm Flag Flying; Grade I winners Miner's Mark and Traditionally; and GSP Salute, who is the dam of GISW Mr Speaker (Pulpit), recent stakes winner Fire Away (War Front) and GSP Snap Decision (Hard Spun). This is also the family of graded winners Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense), Divine Oath (Broken Vow) and Auntie Joy (Uncle Mo).

Friday, Churchill Downs
CLARK H. PRESENTED BY NORTON HEALTHCARE-GI, $500,000, CD, 11-24, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:48.88, ft.
1–SEEKING THE SOUL, 116, c, 4, by Perfect Soul (Ire)
1st Dam: Seeking the Title (GSW & GISP, $273,916), by Seeking the Gold
2nd Dam: Title Seeker, by Monarchos
3rd Dam: Personal Ensign, by Private Account
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I
WIN. ($37,000 RNA 2yo '15 OBSOPN). O-Charles E. Fipke;
B-Charles Fipke (KY); T-Dallas Stewart; J-John R. Velazquez.
$297,600. Lifetime Record: 17-5-3-5, $551,162.  Werk Nick
Rating: C+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Good Samaritan, 118, c, 3, Harlan's Holiday–Pull Dancer, by
Pulpit. O-WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International Ltd., SF
Racing LLC, Head of Plains; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-William
I. Mott. $96,000.3–Hoppertunity, 123, h, 6, Any Given Saturday–Refugee, by
Unaccounted For. ($300,000 Ylg '12 KEESEP). O-Karl Watson,
Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman; B-Betz, D.J. Stable, Kidder,
J. Betz & Robenalt (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $48,000.Margins: HF, 1, 1 3/4. Odds: 7.90, 5.50, 6.00.
Also Ran: Diversify, The Player, Destin, Goats Town, Mo Tom, Honorable Duty. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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