07/07/2014 12:36PM

Motion makes weekend his oyster

Fortune Pearl wins the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks for trainer Graham Motion on Saturday.

Graham Motion put on quite a show over the weekend, winning the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks on Saturday and the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

While Fortune Pearl’s victory in the $300,000 Oaks was not surprising, Main Sequence’s U.N. triumph was amazing on some levels. The 5-year-old hadn’t won since May 2012, hadn’t run since last October, and was making his United States debut.

“The Niarchos family felt he needed a change of scenery and they sent him to me last winter,” Motion said after the U.N. “Unfortunately, he had a long trip and got sick.

“We just got him healthy and then were patient and took our time with him.”

Motion put 10 workouts at the Fair Hill training center into Main Sequence between April 17 and the $500,000 United Nations.

“I knew he was fit,” Motion said. “I was more concerned about his antics than anything.”

Motion said that Main Sequence can be a “quirky horse in the mornings,” and in the paddock and warm-up prior to the U.N., he did look a little more revved up than you would like to see. There was also a question about Main Sequence’s desire to win. He had been beaten 10 straight times, eight times in group races but twice in lesser races, too.

“I knew he was fit enough,” Motion said Monday morning. “I was concerned that it had been a long time between wins for him and if mentally he still wanted to do it. The company he had been facing in Europe was strong for the most part and he wasn’t being badly beaten, he just hadn’t won.”

Now, with Main Sequence’s will to win no longer a question – he earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the U.N. – Motion can plan accordingly. His next start possibilities include the Arlington Million at 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 17 and the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer at Saratoga the next day. Looking down the road, the Breeders’ Cup is in play because the United Nations was a Win and You’re In for the Turf.

Fortune Pearl possible for Alabama

Fortune Pearl has been a pleasant surprise for Motion.

She scored in her career debut in a $32,000 maiden-claiming turf race at Tampa Bay Downs last December. “Nobody was more surprised than me when she won,” Motion said Saturday. “She just hadn’t shown us a lot in the morning.”

Motion has been pleased with the steady progress Fortune Pearl has made, and even though she was given only a 79 Beyer for her Delaware Oaks win, she is under consideration for the Grade 1 Alabama at 1 1/4 miles at Saratoga on Aug. 16.

“I know the number was low, but each time she runs she improves,” Motion said. “That’s why I am comfortable looking at a race like the Alabama.

“I think Joint Return, who was second, is a legitimate filly, but I realize it’s questionable what else was behind her.”

Fortune Pearl’s record now stands at 7-3-2-1 with $272,000 in earnings. Her owner-breeder Ralphy Meahjohn also raced Fortune Pearl’s dam, Chelsea’s Pearl, a modest racehorse who has produced four foals, all winners.