Monday, Apr. 15, 2024

Seer Has The Speed For Monmouth Park

The 4-year-old makes his best effort to date in the novice stakes.

Steeplechasing returned to the New Jersey shore on Sept. 20, and racegoers were treated to a thrilling photo finish with Mrs. Rufus Williams’ Seer just getting his head across the wire to win the $75,000 novice stakes race in Oceanport.
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The 4-year-old makes his best effort to date in the novice stakes.

Steeplechasing returned to the New Jersey shore on Sept. 20, and racegoers were treated to a thrilling photo finish with Mrs. Rufus Williams’ Seer just getting his head across the wire to win the $75,000 novice stakes race in Oceanport.

Pitted against several good stakes horses like multiple winner and favorite Alnoff Stable’s Be Certain (Padge Whelan), summer star William Pape’s The Price Of Love (Danielle Hodsdon) and the veteran Dr. Bloomer (Robert Walsh), Seer’s jockey Xavier Aizpuru knew this was a tough field to beat.

As expected at flag fall, Dr. Bloomer took over with authority, racing along at a good pace. The Price Of Love carried the most weight at 156 pounds and ran uncharacteristically in the back of the field, never really firing.

As they finished the second mile Be Certain and Seer had closed the gap along with Randleston Farm’s Spy In the Sky (Liam McVicar), and it looked like Spy In The Sky might have enough to win.

But Seer was far from done. After the last hurdle, as the gap to the wire started to close, Aizpuru could either circle to the outside and waste ground and precious seconds or ask for just a little more from his horse.

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Spying a hole on the inside, Aizpuru needled his way through along the rail, and it was just enough for Seer to win over Be Certain. Dr. Bloomer held on to take third while Spy In The Sky took fourth place money.

With added money, the purse was increased to $79,800 and Seer paid out $9.60 for the win.

Aizpuru has been riding the 4-year-old son of Pulpit all summer. In June, the pair won a $15,000 maiden race at Colonial Downs (Va.), then in July finished second in a $70,000 at Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) to Armata Stable’s Dynaski.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, this was his best race,” Aizpuru said. “His jumping was so improved, and he trusts me more.”

Seer’s trainer Jack Fisher, of Monkton, Md., didn’t give any instructions to Aizpuru. The jockey knew that Be Certain, a horse he has ridden before, was one to watch.

“Dr. Bloomer too is a very fine horse, and he could have easily won on his day, but he was going a bit quick,” said Aizpuru. “I thought he would come back to us.”

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Fisher was pleased with his horse’s efforts: “He’s a horse that hadn’t really jumped well until Saturday. I thought they were going quick early on; they were pretty strung out.”

Although Aizpuru was the leading rider in the National Steeplechase Association coming into this race, he has not had such a stellar summer as he had in the spring, when he won 12 races. The English native had his wins on Seer, but he also had a couple of refusals and was even spun off another horse at the start.
“It hasn’t been great,” Aizpuru said. “But I can’t complain. Most of my horses have made money, and there have been some really great races.”

Still, with 14 wins to his name it is going to be hard to catch Aizpuru this fall. Jody Petty, who is just coming back to action after breaking his arm in several places in a fall in May, is closest to Aizpuru, with nine wins so far. Danielle Hodsdon is tied with William Dowling and Matt McCarron for third with eight wins.

Whelan, Be Certain’s rider, was disappointed in the race’s outcome.

“He tried so hard,” Whelan said. “He just can’t seem to get his little neck out ahead at the end. He’s not doing anything wrong; he’s just a horse who is not blessed with a great turn of foot, an honest little horse with all the kicks in the right boxes. He tried his heart out.”

Sarah L. Greenhalgh

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