07/06/2014 7:07PM

Main Sequence ends long drought in United Nations

Aubrey Therkelsen/Equi-Photo
Main Sequence, making his North American debut for trainer Graham Motion, makes a late surge under Rajiv Maragh to take the Grade 1 United Nations.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Main Sequence broke a long losing streak in style at Monmouth Park on Sunday, flying home to win the Grade 1 United Nations in his North American debut.

Main Sequence began his career in England, winning four minor races in succession, two as a 2-year-old and two as a 3-year-old. His connections, the Flaxman Holdings LLC of the Niarchos family and trainer David Lanigan, were encouraged enough to try him next in the Epsom Derby in June 2012 and he finished second.

Unfortunately, that was the beginning of a new streak for Main Sequence. He lost 10 straight races prior to the United Nations.

The $500,000 U.N. was actually Plan B for Main Sequence, who was sent to trainer Graham Motion over the winter. Plan A was the Grade 3, $200,000 Arlington Handicap on July 12 but Motion opted to keep Main Sequence closer to the home because he can be a "quirky horse."

That showed in the paddock as Main Sequence appeared a bit hot.

"I was told he would get like that," said Motion, who in addition to the U.N also won the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks this weekend." I was ready for it, so I wasn't bothered."

Main Sequence broke last in the nine-horse field and lagged toward the back of the compact group early in the 1 3/8-mile race. He began to pick up horses on the final turn under jockey Rajiv Maragh, came four wide into the stretch, and then finished fast to run down Twilight Eclipse in deep stretch for a neck decision.

"Graham told me to get him into a rhythm, which I did," Maragh said. "He showed an awesome turn of foot."

While the early fractions, set by English-based Side Glance, were modest - 24.84 seconds, 49.04, 1:14.64, and 1:39.47 - the closing splits were quicker: 23.43 seconds from the mile to 1 1/4, and then a final eighth in 11.33. Main Sequence made up approximately two lengths in that rapid final fraction.

Main Sequence completed the distance in 2:14.23 and paid $18 as the sixth choice in the lineup. The United Nations was a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In race, and Main Sequence earned an automatic berth in the BC Turf.

Motion said he would not be in a hurry to run Main Sequence back but that the Arlington Million on Aug. 16 was a consideration, as was Saratoga. The premier distance turf race of the Saratoga meet is the Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile race on Aug. 17.

Runner-up Twilight Eclipse was unlucky to be beaten. Never far back while saving ground, he came outward for running room in the stretch, bested Side Glance by a length but was nipped late at 7-2.

Side Glance, 5-1, broke second to last but rushed up to take the early lead under Jamie Spencer. He set a controlled pace, held well, and lasted by a nose over fourth-place finisher Winning Cause. Kaigun, the 3-1 favorite, tracked Side Glance to the stretch but was outfinished. He was beaten 1 1/2 lengths.

Side Glance broke from the outside post in the three-turn race, which forced Spencer's hand early.

"He went a nice pace and shut down lovely for me," Spencer said. "With an outside draw, you have to commit. I wasn't going to get cover so I let him go and relax on the front.

"There are very few horses that are as genuine as this horse,” he added. "You have to remember he's 7 now. He's no spring chicken but he gives his all."

- additional reporting byMike Farrell