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2014 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes

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Main Sequence and jockey Rajiv Maragh walk down Victory Lane after winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.
Date: 09/27/2014

The $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1) is a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Turf. A field of 7 older horses (6 betting interests) contested this 1 1/2 mile trip around 2 turns of Belmont Park's Widener Turf Course. The 2-horse Ramsey Farm entry of Cliffhanger (G3) runner-up Big Blue Kitten and Manhattan (G1) winner Real Solution was sent off as the 9-5 favorite. In to challenge them included 2-1 second choice Main Sequence, winner of the United Nations (G1) and Sword Dancer (G1), and 3-1 third choice Imagining, second in the Sword Dancer.
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Main Sequence (outside), Twilight Eclipse, and Imagining (inside) battle down the stretch

Jockey Joel Rosario sent Imagining to the lead and he set easy fractions of 26.53, 50.89, 1:15.49, 1:39.28, and 2:02.92 over the firm course while pressed by Real Solution. Imagining continued to lead to the 1/8 pole but Main Sequence and 7-1 Twilight Eclipse came through late, bumping inside the 1/16 pole, with Main Sequence finishing a neck in front in 2:26.32. It was a length back to pacesetter Imagining third, and a length more to co-favorite Big Blue Kitten third. Jose Lezcano aboard Twilight Eclipse claimed foul against Rajiv Maragh aboard Main Sequence, but the order of finish stood.

Check out the other races on the card: Jockey Club Gold Cup, The Beldame, The Vosburgh, The Flower Bowl, and Kelso Handicap.

horse racing
 #  Horse              Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 5  Main Sequence      Maragh         5.90   3.90   2.80
 2  Twilight Eclipse   Lezcano               7.70   4.00
 3  Imagining          Rosario                      3.60

Winning Time:  2:26.32

$2 Exacta 5-2                 35.80
$2 Trifecta 5-2-3             96.00
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Main Sequence in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Graham Motion said, "Ironically, I thought he ran his most professional race today and then you had the bump right before the wire. I was actually a little surprised how close he was once he got away from there today. He was much more in the race than he has been. I thought it would have been a little bit cruel to take it away, but he definitely bumped the other horse. I feel bad for West Point (owner of Twilight Eclipse). I train for them and that horse has run three big races and he's come out on the wrong end of them."

Right: Main Sequence returns after the race. Jockey Rajiv Maragh said, "He's consistently good. He's 3-for-3 in the United States and has done everything right. When he made the lead, it was a little sooner than we wanted. He started loafing a little bit; I tried to make him see the other horse and a little contact happened. I felt like I was going to be OK on the inquiry, but it was nerve-wracking."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Twilight Eclipse in the paddock. Jockey Jose Lezcano said, "I got a good trip. My horse almost went by, but Main Sequence hit me so hard my horse lost his balance. I had to stop riding." Trainer Tom Albertrani added, "He ran well. Hopefully we'll get him in California, right?"

Right: Third place finisher Imagining in the post parade. The 3-1 third choice set the pace under Joel Rosario but could not contain the first two, finishing third beaten 1 1/4 lengths. The Shug McGaughey trainee improved his record to 8 wins, 5 seconds, and 1 third in 19 starts, earning $1,003,114 for owner-breeder Phipps Stable.

horse racingFourth place finisher and part of the beaten favorite entry Big Blue Kitten returns after the race. Trainer Chad Brown said, "I'm disappointed. They went off the favorites; it's very disappointing. We'll just regroup with both of them. (Entrymate) Real Solution just didn't have it today going 1 1/2. Big Blue Kitten ran well. The pace really hurt us. I thought the top two horses ran terrific. Our horse, we could have used a little more pace. It would have helped our chances."

Check out the other races on the card: Jockey Club Gold Cup, The Beldame, The Vosburgh, The Flower Bowl, and Kelso Handicap.

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