Masen Captures First Stateside Stakes in Seek Again


Photo: Coglianese Photos
Masen wins the Seek Again Stakes at Belmont Park

One day after securing an elusive triumph with Early Voting  in the Preakness Stakes (G1), the weekend prosperity continued for trainer Chad Brown, who saddled Juddmonte's homebred Masen  to his first stateside stakes score in the May 22 $100,000 Seek Again Stakes for 4-year-olds and upward going one mile over Belmont Park's Widener turf course.

"It was a great weekend and I'm so proud of my team and this group of horses," Brown said. "Masen is a really exciting horse moving forward. It's been a terrific weekend and my team deserves all the credit getting these horses ready."

Scratched down to a field of three, the Seek Again was Masen's first start since his North American debut, where he beaten a scant nose by Shirl's Speight  in the April 15 Maker's Mark Mile Stakes (G1T) at Keeneland. The 4-year-old son of Kingman  didn't need to work quite as hard this time around, strolling in hand past the wire a five-length winner.

Favored Masen tracked the early pace of :23.64 and :47.40 set by Wolfie's Dynaghost  before jockey Manny Franco turned the gelding loose with by the six furlong-marker. Opening up a length at the top of the lane, Masen cruised to the wire in a hand ride with Duke of Hazzard  securing second over Wolfie's Dynaghost in third.

The bay covered the mile in a final time of 1:34.94 on a turf course rated good.

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Field Pass  and Mandate  were scratched.

"I just tried to give the best ride I could and keep him out of trouble," Franco said. "In the beginning, he was pulling me because he was in the clear, so I was trying to put him behind the horse on the lead. I just engaged the horse on the lead and my horse did the rest. He was ready for the race. I never asked him at all, and he just was eased at the eighth pole."

Brown said that he used the Seek Again as both a confidence booster and a springboard back to graded stakes later this summer.

"It was a tough loss last time when he got beat by a really good horse over in the Maker's Mark Mile. It was his first time racing in the country, and he got nailed," Brown said. "I wanted to give him a confidence booster and it worked out perfect."

Brown indicated that the June 18 Poker Stakes (G3T) at Belmont could be in play for his next start, with the Aug. 13 Fourstardave Stakes (G1T) at Saratoga Race Course as a long term goal for Masen.

Brown gave credit to Masen's former trainer Ger Lyons, who conditioned the horse to three victories in Ireland.

"He came into my barn in outstanding shape," Brown said. "I want to point out that Juddmonte and former trainer Ger Lyons had the horse and did a good job of developing him and sending him over very sound and in terrific shape. I'm very appreciative and they took very good care of him."

Masen ($2.50) picked up his fourth career victory and first since capturing the Knockaire in October at Leopardstown. His record now stands at a consistent 8-4-2-1 with $288,798 in earnings.

Hailing from prestigious Juddmonte bloodlines, Masen is out of the Smart Strike mare Continental Drift, whose dam Intercontinental was a multiple grade 1-winning turf champion for the late Bobby Frankel. In addition to Intercontinental, Masen's third dam Hasili produced four other grade/group 1 winners for Juddmonte.

Video: Seek Again S. (BT)