ELMONT, N.Y. – Juddmonte’s British homebred Masen will vie for his first stateside victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Seek Again, a one-mile test for 4-year-olds and up over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park.
Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, Masen enters from a gutsy runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile on April 15 at Keeneland where he was defeated a nose by Shirl’s Speight in his American debut.
The 4-year-old son of Kingman began his career in Ireland with trainer Ger Lyons and broke his maiden at first asking sprinting seven furlongs over good going in July 2020 at Leopardstown. He finished a close third one month later in his stakes debut in the Group 3 JRA Tyros four starts before capturing the Knockaire in October 2021 at Leopardstown for the lone stakes victory of his career.
The bay gelding did not start again until his most recent effort in the Maker’s Mark Mile, his first start for Brown and his best performance at the graded or group level. Masen tracked closely in second as Smooth Like Straight set tepid fractions over the good Keeneland lawn until asked in the turn by Flavien Prat to make his bid for the lead.
Despite some traffic troubles down the stretch, Masen took command at the eighth pole and clung to his precarious lead as Shirl’s Speight closed furiously from seventh while going seven-wide and nailed Masen at the wire. Masen earned a field-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.
Masen has worked twice over Belmont’s inner turf since his last outing, most recently breezing five furlongs in company with the undefeated stakes winner Unanimous Consent in 1:02.11 on May 13.
“He came out of his race at Keeneland in good shape,” said Brown. “He’s moved over to Belmont and has done really well.”
The royally-bred Masen is out of the Smart Strike mare Continental Drift, a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner and 2005 Eclipse Award Champion Turf Mare Intercontinental. Intercontinental is one of five Grade or Group 1 winners out of influential broodmare Hasili.
Masen will emerge from post 4 with Manny Franco in the irons.
Mrs. F. Hay’s Duke of Hazzard, a first-time gelding, is also in search of his first stateside victory for trainer Wesley Ward after a competitive sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on September 18 in his first American start.
A 6-year-old French-bred son of Lope de Vega, Duke of Hazzard began his career in Europe with trainer Paul Cole and broke his maiden at fifth asking in 2018 at Goodwood. He went on to capture two group victories in 2019 at Goodwood in the Group 3 Bonhams Thoroughbred and Group 2 Celebration Mile, which was the last time he visited the winner’s circle. Since then, Duke of Hazzard posted four more in-the-money finishes in group events before moving stateside.
Duke of Hazzard was squeezed at the start of the Woodbine Mile and tracked in second under Kazushi Kimura. The bay began to lose ground at the three-quarter marker en route to a sixth-place finish just 3 3/4 lengths behind the winner Town Cruise.
Ward said Duke of Hazzard, who trained at Turfway Park and Keeneland for much of the spring, didn’t show much in the mornings while working barefoot as most of his trainees do. He added shoes and showed more intensity in his training, including a six-furlong breeze in 1:14.88 over Belmont’s inner turf on May 15 in company with maiden winner Chardy Party.
“I just think he’s kind of getting fit now,” said Ward. “It’s taken quite a while to get him to this point. I don’t think it’s any one thing. Racehorses are funny – you just have to wait on them, and his time is now.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Duke of Hazzard from post 2.
Woodslane Farm’s Wolfie’s Dynaghost was last seen finishing a game second with a rail-skimming ride from Jose Ortiz in the Grade 3 Appleton on April 2 at Gulfstream Park where he was defeated a half-length by Phantom Currency.
Trained by Tom Albertrani, the versatile Wolfie’s Dynaghost has won over turf, dirt and synthetic at distances ranging from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. His ledger of 12-4-1-2 includes a frontrunning handicap score over Tapeta in January at Gulfstream where he upset the field of 11 at odds of 20-1 and a third-place finish in the 2021 Better Talk Now on turf at Saratoga Race Course.
The 4-year-old bay son of Ghostzapper will emerge from post 3 with Ortiz in the irons.
Three Diamonds Farm’s five-time graded stakes winner Field Pass will make the third start of his 5-year-old campaign for trainer Mike Maker. The gelded son of Lemon Drop Kid began the year with a 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational where he was defeated just 3 3/4 lengths by Colonel Liam. He finished third in his most recent outing going one mile in the Henry Clark on April 23 at Laurel Park where he was bested a head for place honors by returning rival Mandate.
Field Pass posted his most recent win in the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap travelling 1 1/16 miles in November at Del Mar, tenaciously holding off a late bid from Sacred Life by a head. He boasts field-best earnings of $948,143 and a record of 8-3-4 from 24 starts.
Dylan Davis will ride from post 1.
Rounding out the field is Bruno Schickedanz’s Mandate, who enters from his second-place effort over Field Pass in the Henry Clark. The gelded son of Blame will make his second start since returning to trainer Robert Johnson, who conditioned Mandate to an upset victory in the Artie Schiller in November at Aqueduct.
Mandate was piloted to his to 44-1 Artie Schiller victory by Andrew Wolfsont, who gets the call again from post 5.
The Seek Again is slated as Race 3 on Sunday’s nine-race card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
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Belmont Park Press Release