In-form Main Sequence wins Breeders' Turf

By Mark Lamport-Stokes ARCADIA California (Reuters) - Main Sequence upstaged early favorite Flintshire with a storming run from the outside to win the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park on Saturday and maintain his perfect record this year. Expertly ridden by John Velazquez in bright afternoon sunshine, the five-year-old chestnut gelding powered to the finish line to triumph by half a length over Flintshire, who also made a strong surge after the final turn. It was the fourth win in four starts this year for Kentucky-bred Main Sequence, a 6-1 choice heading into the race. "For a horse to win four Group 1s in a row, that is pretty remarkable," Main Sequence's trainer Graham Motion told reporters. "I didn't want to talk about it before the race, but I think he should be Turf Horse of the Year perhaps. "What he's accomplished here is incredible, and he deserves strong consideration for that." Twilight Eclipse, a 19-1 choice piloted by Javier Castellano, finished one and a quarter lengths back in third with Irish raider Telescope, the 8-5 favorite heading into the starting gate, making a late move to place fourth. England-born Motion, who trained 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, was delighted with every aspect of the race run by Main Sequence, whose usual jockey Rajiv Maragh was unavailable due to injury. "I couldn't believe how well everything worked out," said Motion. "He broke a little better today than he has done. Johnny (Velazquez) had him in great position coming down the hill. "Everything just set up beautifully. "When he started making that last move around the turn, I felt pretty confident, to be honest, that he was going to get there." Velazquez said that Maragh had given him perfect instructions ahead of the race. "Rajiv told me all about the horse and how to ride him," Velazquez said. "He told me everything good about the horse and he (Main Sequence) did exactly what he said. It was the perfect trip." Motion was especially pleased for Velazquez, who required emergency surgery to remove his spleen after he suffered internal bleeding following an accident during last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. "This time a year ago, I was sitting about two miles away from here in the hospital with Johnny Velazquez who was in critical condition, so it's quite a turn of events," said Motion. "It's a powerfully emotional day." Last year's Turf winner, Magician, was unable to defend his title after being withdrawn from the race on Wednesday because of lameness. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Steve Keating)