Master of The Seas Gets Seasonal Debut Victory in G1 Maker’s Mark Mile

April 12, 2024

Master of The Seas masters the Keeneland turf (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

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Keeneland Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Godolphin’s homebred Master of The Seas (IRE) made a successful return to the races Friday afternoon by posting a 2¼-length victory over stablemate Naval Power (GB) to win the 36th running of the $517,775 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) for 4-year-olds and up.

Earlier on the program, Hot Beach led all the way to win the $244,563 FanDuel Limestone by 4 lengths.

Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick, Master of The Seas completed the mile on a turf course listed as yielding in 1:37.10. It is the first victory in the Maker’s Mark Mile for both Appleby and Buick.

Emmanuel led the field through fractions of :24.38 and :49.20 with Kubrick (IRE) racing second a length back. Master of The Seas and 2022 Maker’s Mark Mile winner Shirl’s Speight raced a joint third with Master of The Seas owning the spot next to the rail.

The top two remained unchanged going into the final turn while Buick moved Master of The Seas closer to the leaders. At the top of the stretch, the field tightened up with all six runners across the track.

At this juncture, Buick made the decisive move angling Master of The Seas to the inside of Emmanuel at the three-sixteenths pole rather than go wide or try to split runners. Master of The Seas hit the front at the eighth pole and drew off.

Master of The Seas and William Buick prance off to the winner's circle. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
Master of The Seas and William Buick ahead of their win (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

It was the first start for Master of The Seas since winning the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) Presented by PDJF last November at Santa Anita. It is the third Grade 1 victory for Master of The Seas, who improved his record to 17-9-3-2 and increased his earnings to $2,520,582 with Friday’s $306,125 check.

Master of The Seas is a 6-year-old gelded son of Dubawi out of the Danehill mare Firth of Lorne (IRE).

Master of The Seas returned $3.54, $2.66 and $2.10. Naval Power, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $4.34 and $3.10 and finished 2¼ lengths in front of Integration, who paid $2.98 to show under Frankie Dettori.

It was another neck back to Shirl’s Speight with Emmanuel and Kubrick following in order.

Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program beginning at 1 p.m. ET highlighted by the 36th running of the $600,000 Jenny Wiley (G1) for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. The Jenny Wiley is the ninth race with a post time of 5:16 p.m.

Also on Saturday’s program is the 42nd running of the $400,000 Stonestreet Lexington (G3) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track and the 27th running of the $300,000 Giant’s Causeway (G3) for fillies and mares going 5½ furlongs on the grass. The Giant’s Causeway is the seventh race at 4:12 p.m. and the Stonestreet Lexington is the 10th at 5:48 p.m.

Quotes for the $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1)

Charlie Appleby (winning trainer of Master of The Seas [IRE]), On his performance over the yielding turf“He showed his versatility. I was confident. When he’s done as much winning as he has over here (in North America) on quick ground, you’re always slightly dubious when the ground is as testing as it is out there today, but he does have past form on slower surfaces. What I liked about it is that they (stablemates Master of The Seas and runner-up Naval Power [GB]) got into a nice rhythm around there. Naval Power unfortunately was a bit slow from the gate. (Jockey) William (Buick) got in a lovely pause for (Master of The Seas). Once they came off the turn, all William needed was that gap to be able to give him the signal to pick up.

“It’s well documented that he’s challenged us over the years, in his young years, with his temperament, just being so highly strung. The more traveling he’s done, he’s matured. I was pleased with him in the prelims. I know he got a bit excited once William got on. These horses that ship from Dubai, they have the long flight over here, and we have to have an easy few days, and then unfortunately the weather conditions stopped us from doing probably the normal route we would have done. So, the pair of them were fresh enough. I was thinking, I just wish I’d gotten a decent canter into him this morning.

Jockey William Buick hoists the very large trophy. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
Jockey William Buick hoists the very large trophy as trainer Appleby holds the winner’s saddle cloth (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

“But anyway, two great rides; William gave us a great ride and (jockey) Tyler (Gaffalione) gave his horse (Naval Power) a lovely ride, so we hope they both have a nice future for the summer here in America, hopefully the pair of them. Master of The Seas might go to Churchill on (Kentucky) Derby day there, and Naval Power might head to Aqueduct, and then they’ll ship up to Saratoga and spend the summer there.”

William Buick (winning rider)On harnessing Master of The Seas’ energy and getting him to relax during the race: “I think that’s been part of his journey throughout his career; he’s learned in this last two or three years racing, to relax at any spot in the race, really. I think his trips to America and Canada have really made a man of him. Once the gates open, he’s the kind of horse you can put anywhere you want, and you know he’s going to have that finishing kick. He’s so good on fast ground, so we weren’t quite sure it’s very soft (yielding) on the turf (today). But he handled it well and picked up like he would on fast ground. He’s a very good miler.”

Master of The Seas and William Buick (with a photobomber!) (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)
Master of The Seas and William Buick savor their victory (with a photobomber!) (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Tyler Gaffalione (rider of runner-up Naval Power [GB]): “Everything went smoothly, he didn’t jump (out of the starting gate) the greatest. But being his first run here in the States, we kind of expected that. But he got into good rhythm. I was able to follow Master of The Seas around there. A spot opened up at the top of the lane, he responded but we were second best today. I was really proud of the effort. For a second, I thought we were going to get there, but then I saw the royal blue (Master of The Seas) coming up the inside.”

Frankie Dettori (rider of third-place finisher Integration): “He just could not sustain his run on that ground. The ground was soft, so you had to take the fractions with a pinch of salt. It’s not a normal day today.”

Irad Ortiz Jr. (rider of pace-setting Emmanual, who finished fifth): “He’s got speed and he put me on the lead on his own so I just go with the flow of the race (because) he relaxed so well. I don’t think the soft (yielding course) helped him. I was happy with the fractions.”

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