Main Sequence’s victory in the Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational on
Sunday at Saratoga was special for the horse’s trainer, H. Graham
Motion, for a few reasons.
Motion was still gushing Monday morning about the way his trainee won, with a
devastating turn of foot. The son of Aldebaran was left at the back of the pack
after a poor start, but uncoiled a perfectly timed rally to nip Imagining on the
wire, despite the pace staying intact.
“Credit to (jockey) Rajiv (Maragh),” Motion said. “The way he rode him made all
the difference yesterday. To ride a cool race when you get left like that is not
easy to do. He rode a great race, he really did, and he has a lot of confidence
in the horse.”
The Sword Dancer also holds special meaning for Motion because when he won it in
2004 with Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Better Talk Now, he viewed it as his most
important win. Now, he considers it the launching pad for his career.
Since then, Motion has claimed even bigger prizes — most prominently the
Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup with Animal Kingdom — and as fate would have
it, Animal Kingdom is the reason Main Sequence is in Motion’s barn.
“When I was with Animal Kingdom in England last year, I was in a yard with
Sequence’s former trainer) David (Lanigan), so I saw this horse train every
day,” Motion said. “It was David’s idea to bring him over here. David was the
one that had the foresight to suggest bringing him over here because he thought
he would really do well in American racing.”
Since both Lanigan and Motion train for Flaxman Holdings, which owns and bred
Main Sequence, the transfer went off without a hitch.
“(David) thought he needed a change of scenery,” Motion said. “To me, what’s
made a big difference with this horse is getting an honest pace in these races.
You get a much more honest pace here than you do (in Europe).”
Whether it be the pace, the ground or the competition, Main Sequence has proven
himself to be among America’s elite turf marathoners and will be pointed to the
Breeders’ Cup Turf with a possible start at Belmont Park in between, according
“No question we’re thinking Breeders’ Cup,” said the trainer. “Once you win a
‘Win and You’re In’ race (the July 6 United Nations at Monmouth) it’s on your radar, but we wanted to see him do it
again and prove that he was that good. I think he did.
“I’d imagine we’d run him at Belmont (in the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf
Classic Invitational on September 27), either that or not at all. I wouldn’t be
opposed to running in the Breeders’ Cup off of works, but I’ll probably run him
at Belmont. We’ll see how it goes.”