January 22, 2018

Seabhac scores first win in Pilgrim

Seabhac punched his ticket to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) with the win (Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography)

The addition of blinkers for Saturday’s $200,000 Pilgrim (G3) appeared to help Seabhac, who scored his first career victory in the 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for juveniles at Belmont Park.

Showing more tactical speed than he had in two prior starts, Seabhac tracked in second behind Looking Ready as that rival set a pace of :24.61, :49.51, and 1:13.77. Bidding for the lead approaching the furlong pole, Seabhac poked his head in front with an eighth to go and scored by a half-length over quick-closing favorite Voting Control.

“I think blinkers and experience; a combination of those things helped,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He ran good races both times at Saratoga. He just encountered a little bit of traffic, especially in his first start. He seems like a talented colt who is still figuring it out.”

Owned by Donegal Racing and ridden by Luis Saez, Seabhac covered the distance on firm ground in 1:43.48. He paid $12.80.

Voting Control, after being squeezed at the start and a wide rally, earned the place by a neck over second choice Maraud. The order of finish was completed by Looking Ready, Morrison, Stolen Pistol, Evaluator, and Desert Stone.

Second to Trumpi by a half-length in his August 5 debut at Saratoga, Seabhac next tried the August 30 With Anticipation (G3). Breaking widest from post 11, he rallied for fourth, 2 1/4 lengths behind Catholic Boy.

“If you watch the replay of the [Grade 3] With Anticipation, he got stopped pretty hard at the quarter pole and it was kind of an impossible spot to rally from, but he still closed well,” Pletcher said. “Johnny [Velazquez, rider on Seabhac’s first two starts] just said if we use blinkers, he should have a little more confidence, and he was right.”

A likely candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar, Seabhac will head to that November contest with earnings of $144,100.

Bred in Kentucky by Three Chimneys Farm, Seabhac sold for $170,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. By Scat Daddy, he’s out Curlin Hawk, a Curlin half-sister to champion and dual classic winner Afleet Alex and the stakes-winning Unforgettable Max.

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