12/01/2013 6:53PM

Hollywood Park: Seek Again wins Hollywood Derby in U.S. debut

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Benoit & Associates
Seek Again and jockey Corey Nakatani take the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby by 1 1/2 lengths Sunday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Seek Again was slow to begin his 3-year-old season for trainer John Gosden in England, making his debut with a win in a minor race at Newmarket in August.

Seek Again ended his 2013 campaign in the best way possible Sunday, winning his American debut in the $251,000 Hollywood Derby at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Seek Again ($12.40) saved ground throughout and won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby by 1 1/2 lengths over 3-1 favorite Admiral Kitten. Amen Kitten, a 39-1 outsider, was third in the field of nine.

Nakatani opted to keep Seek Again on the inside going into the turn and was rewarded with clear space through the final three furlongs.

“I needed a spot to run,” Nakatani said. “It was the shortest way home. I was ecstatic about the way he was traveling. The inside opened up like it was meant to be.”

Seek Again ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:00.60. A Kentucky-bred colt by Speightstown, Seek Again was eighth after six furlongs, racing about 4 1/2 lengths behind pacesetter Rookie Sensation, the winner of the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.

Seek Again was sixth with a quarter-mile remaining but second to Rookie Sensation at the eighth pole.

“My main thing was to get him in a rhythm,” Nakatani said.

Admiral Kitten, trained by Mike Maker, closed from eighth with a wide run in the final quarter-mile to finish a game second.

“We got a good trip,” said Julien Leparoux, who rode Admiral Kitten. “We were a little wider than the winner.”

Admiral Kitten won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in August and was second in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park in October. Admiral Kitten and Amen Kitten, trained by Wesley Ward, are owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

Gervinho, who won a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar in July, finished fourth, followed by Rookie Sensation, Jack Milton, Infinite Magic and Dry Summer (who finished in a dead-heat for seventh), and Irish Surf. Dice Flavor was scratched Sunday morning and might start in the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap on the main track Dec. 14, trainer Paddy Gallagher said.

Seek Again races for breeder Juddmonte Farms. The colt has won 4 of 8 starts and earned $219,030.

The Grade 1 Hollywood Derby was Seek Again’s first start in a graded or group race but was not the richest race of his career. Seek Again was fifth of 31 against older horses in the $258,200 Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket on Sept. 28. He won his final start in England, a minor handicap at York on Oct. 12.

Assistant trainer Les Reynolds said Seek Again will be sent to Florida and will join trainer Bill Mott’s stable this winter.