05/19/2014 12:05PM

Bergman: Seekman has high hopes for Let's Drink On It

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Kikikatie has produced five consecutive foals to pace a winning mile in at least 1:50.

There are those who look for the needle-in-a-haystack hoping that minimal money will pay maximum rewards. Then there are those who will pay anything in pursuit of the perfect portrait of greatness.

Two paths for success in the yearling game and both, yes both, can lead to greatness.

The $250,000 purchase of Captaintreacherous in 2011 was high then but a bargain today. But with big price tags we also find high expectations and when the huge purchase doesn’t work out, simply coming up with a good racehorse is not enough.

So when a $3,000 yearling like He’s Watching comes along, it is a boost for the needle-in-a-haystack side and breathes life into a business that needs both big and small players.

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Trainer Joe Seekman is again playing the underdog roll in 2014, much as he did in 2008 when his Art Official became the only horse to slay the mighty Somebeachsomewhere. Art Official did it in the Meadowlands Pace. Now the two are stallions and are literally miles apart from the battlefield. Somebeachsomewhere has been proclaimed by many to be the next great stallion, while his former rival is struggling to make a name for himself.

Yet between the lofty projections of stallion success and the hefty prices paid to distinguish them at auction, there is a racetrack and a week-to-week proving ground of sorts. This past Saturday, purchase price was not the story but performance was.

Seekman’s Let’s Drink On It, a son of Art Official that cost but $12,000 as a yearling despite a rather rich maternal line, emerged with a monster mile in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and signaled that he’s ready, if need be to go it alone and take on the Somebeachsomewheres of the world and whatever else is thrown in his way.

Let’s Drink On It put in a crushing 1:49 lifetime best performance in but his second start of the year and showed the kind of high speed and determination his sire possessed during that most memorable three-year-old season. “He came out of the race well and we’re sending him to Canada for the three races,” said Seekman on Sunday morning.

For those who didn’t see the effort at Pocono, Let’s Drink On It made a blistering move coming to the half for young Tyler Smith and wrested command from a very good Allstar Partner through a scorching 1:20 4/5 three quarters. The mile was impressive given that it came later in the night. “It was pretty cool by then and I don’t think conditions were ideal,” said Seekman.

Ironically, the first of those three will be the Somebeachsomewhere, with the second part of the journey the North America Cup trials and final.

It won’t be Let’s Drink On It’s first visit to Mohawk, but his team hopes this one will provide a happier ending.

Last year Let’s Drink On It showed incredible promise and captured an elimination of the Metro. His trip in the Metro final last August was a bit bumpy to say the least, with eventually winner Boomboom Ballykeel and third-place finisher Some Major Beach making a sandwich out of him, causing massive interference and locked wheels. In the end, the judges deemed the other two not responsible for the incident and their checks were cashed and Let’s Drink On It earned nil.

Seekman has put the past behind him and most definitely sees a shot at the big time. “I think he’s among the best in this group,” Seekman said, “There wasn’t a two-year-old that earned more than $400,000 last year. That says this is a wide open group.”

While the three-year-old schedule of racing for Let’s Drink On It is similar to that of his daddy, the two had very different two-year-old seasons. Let’s Drink On It won five of his 12 starts at two while Art Official went winless in 15 tries as a freshman.

Let’s Drink On It will likely have some company at Mohawk over the next month with a few of the other Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winners from Saturday joining him north of the border.

Tellitlikeitis, a son of Well Said, captured the first division in 1:49 1/5, converting on a pocket trip for driver Brett Miller. Jimmy Takter trains the colt that like Let’s Drink On It raced in last year’s Metro final at Mohawk. Tellitllikeitis was making his first start of 2014 and had to work to pass a stubborn and almost as impressive Limelight Beach in the process. Tellitlikeitis paced his first quarter in :26 2/5 and his final in :27 in taking a personal best.

The 1:49 1/5 mile gave Tellitlikeitis’ dam Kikikatie a record that perhaps may never be broken. With the win, Kikikatie has produced five foals, all with records of 1:50 or better.

As someone who came from an era where the 2:00 mile was the standard, Kikikatie’s accomplishment puts her light years ahead of any pacing broodmare in the sport’s history.

The mare’s first four foals were all by Rocknroll Hanover and they include-Rockin Image (1:48 2/5), Grams Legacy (1:50), Time To Roll (1:49 3/5), and Rockin Amadeus (1:49 1/5).

Tellitlikeitis may be the best of the lot if he continues to improve. Three of his four brothers competed in the North America Cup, with Time To Roll finishing second in the 2012 edition.

Seekman knows all too well to be concerned with any son of Kikitatie. He trained that filly throughout her $1.26 million career and is not surprised with what she’s produced.

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“She was a natural. She was great gaited. She won 14 races in a row at two and then just got beat in her last start,” Seekman recalled of the Breeders Crown loss by a neck in late 2003.

Despite his success with the mare, Seekman hasn’t been able to train any of the colts.

“They’re too expensive for me,” said Seekman.

Actually, none of Kikikatie’s foals have been sold at public auction proving just how valuable they are to the breeder.