10/15/2012 9:31AM

Fresno: Control Seeker and Francisco Duran go all the way in Bull Dog


Trainer Keith Nations told jockey Francisco Duran that the outcome of the $75,250 Bull Dog Handicap on Sunday at the Big Fresno Fair could be determined by his ride.

Duran gave Control Seeker a perfect ride to hold off Juniper Pass by a half-length and win the 1 1/8-mile closing-day feature in 1:51.53. Quindici Man was third another two lengths back. Control Seeker paid $8.60 to win.

“Give all the credit to Francisco,” said Nations. “I talked to him this morning and told him I wasn’t trying to put pressure on him, but it would be a real riders’ race.”

There was no real speed in the five-horse field, and Duran got Control Seeker to break sharply. He led by one length through the opening quarter, but Juniper Pass, a multiple Grade 2 winner, edged closer under Julie Couton and was a half-length behind at each call.

Nations said the even fractions of 50.71 for a half-mile, 1:14.88 for six furlongs and 1:38.63 for the mile helped Control Seeker last.

“He really got it done down the lane,” said Nations.

“This horse is normally a stalking type. This was something new, and there was enough pressure on him that I was a little concerned.”
The victory, worth $45,050, was the third straight for Control Seeker, owned by Theresa and Edward DeNike. The win streak started with a victory in the Joseph Grace on the turf at Santa Rosa. The 6-year-old Sought After gelding now has career earnings of $327,787 with nine victories in 35 starts.

Nations said he would point Control Seeker to the $100,000 All American at Golden Gate Fields on Nov. 23.