Seeking the Soul edged past Quip in the latter stages and prevailed by a neck in Saturday’s $600,000 Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs, overcoming a slow pace to take the “Win & You’re In” prize for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The Charles Fipke homebred failed to draw into the main body of last year’s Classic field, winding up second in the Dirt Mile (G1) instead, and has moved forward at age 6 for Dallas Stewart.
“We will definitely be in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this year,” Stewart said. “This horse is so special to our entire barn. We have to thank Mr. Fipke for allowing us to train him. With family and friends here tonight, this is as good as it gets – we’re in the Classic.”
Off as the 9-2 third choice with John Velazquez, Seeking the Soul settled midpack a few lengths off the pace in a bunched 12-horse field as Tom’s d’Etat and Quip raced together through tepid fractions of : 24.60, :49.43 and 1:13.44. The bay son of Perfect Soul launched his bid on the far turn, advancing to be just behind the leaders turning for home.
The front-runners surged into the stretch with more in reserve and Quip forged his way clear of Tom’s d’Etat in the final sixteenth of a mile. Seeking the Soul kept plugging away on the far outside, closing determinedly to gain the upper hand in the shadow of the wire, and completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.27.
“As soon as I broke out there and got into the first turn, he was a little more aggressive than I want him to be,” Velazquez said. “He’s never been that close in the first part of the race. But I got him back to where I wanted him to be, got comfortable where he was, and then down the stretch, pulling out, he had it.”
Runner-up in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) earlier this season and third most recently in the May 3 Alysheba (G2), Seeking the Soul improved his scorecard to 27-7-6-7, $3,335,802. Winner of 2017 Clark (G1) and last year’s Ack Ack (G1), the Kentucky-bred has posted all three of his stakes wins at Churchill Downs. He also owns a total of eight stakes placings.
Following a win in the April 13 Oaklawn H. (G2), Quip wound up being overlooked at 13-1. He finished 1 ¾ lengths better than the 9-2 Tom’s d’Etat and it was another 5 ¾ lengths back to 2-1 favorite Gift Box in fourth. Completing the order was Thirstforlife, Yoshida, Exulting, Runaway Ghost, Tenfold, King Zachary, Alkhaatam and Rated R Superstar.
Fifke bred both the sire and dam, the Grade 3-winning Seeking the Soul mare Seeking the Title.