Hunt Just Able To Hold On For Seabiscuit Victory

Michael House’s Irish-bred Hunt, off at 3-1, was all-out late to hold off the closing rush of He Will by a nose in Sunday’s G2 Seabiscuit Stakes. The 5-year-old son of Dark Angel, ridden to victory by Flavien Prat, stalked the early pacesetters and took over the lead in the stretch to earn his eighth career victory. Trained by Phil D’Amato, Hunt covered 1 1/16 miles over the firm Del Mar turf in 1:41.03. The 7-5 favorite Pee Wee Reese set the pace and faded to finish third.

Favorite Pee Wee Reese immediately went out for the lead in the Seabiscuit, settling into his rhythm with a one-length advantage over Om and Mr. Roary. Hunt was just behind that pair as Pee Wee Reese set fractions of :24.09, :47.90 and 1:11.28. Behind Hunt, there was nearly a three-length gap back to He Will, and Win The Space brought up the rear of the field.

Rounding the far turn, both Om and Hunt made their bids to take on the leader, while He Will was making up ground from the back of the back. Hunt ended up three-wide on the turn.

Pee Wee Reese did not switch leads but fought on down the stretch valiantly; Hunt was not able to pass that rival until nearly the sixteenth pole. He Will hit his best stride in the final 100 yards but came up just inches short in the photo finish.

Hunt defeated He Will by a nose, while Pee Wee Reese was about another length back in third. Om held on to be fourth.

Bred in Ireland by Michael O’Callaghan, Hunt was a $106,517 purchase at the 2-year-old breeze up sale at Goresbridge. The gelding began his career overseas, finding the winner’s circle just once in eight starts. He came to the United States in mid-2015, but did not develop into a consistent allowance horse until his 4-year-old season. It wasn’t until the start of his 5-year-old year that Hunt improved enough to earn his first graded stakes win, but he did so in back-to-back efforts in the Eddie Read and Del Mar Handicap in the summer. Most recently, he finished 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Overall, Hunt’s record stands at 8-5-3 from 26 starts, with earnings of over $660,000.

FLAVIEN PRAT (Hunt, winner) – “The race set up and went just about the way we thought it would. I was in a good spot with him. But the finish was close; very close. He was brave at the end.”

MIKE SMITH (He Will, second) – “Oh, man, I thought I was going to get it for sure. He wouldn’t put his head down. He runs with his head up. If he put it down, he’s the winner.”

JOE TALAMO (Pee Wee Reese, third) – “Really good try to for him, especially coming off the layoff. He ran hard. A very good try.”

PHIL D’AMATO (Hunt, winner) – “To me this was in his wheelhouse, anywhere from a mile to a mile and an eighth. This is what he relishes and he also loves this turf course. I thought Flavien (Prat) gave him a great ride. That’s exactly what he wants to do, stalk and pounce, and he just barely got the job done. ”

The post Hunt Just Able To Hold On For Seabiscuit Victory appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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