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Seeking the Soul a Viable Longshot in Belmont Stakes

Seeking the Soul a Viable Longshot in Belmont Stakes by Reinier Macatangay: Go ahead and laugh at the headline. Seeking the Soul, who recently broke his maiden at Churchill Downs, can win the Belmont Stakes (GI) on Saturday, or at least hit the board. The case will be made below for the 30-1 shot.

Belmont Stakes 2016

Seeking the Soul, who recently broke his maiden at Churchill Downs, can win the Belmont Stakes (GI) on Saturday, or at least hit the board. Photo: Coglianese, NYRA

Trained by Dallas Stewart, Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul owns a modest 3-1-1-0 record. His previous two losses before the win came in sprints at Churchill and Fair Grounds.

Before the Fair Grounds race on Feb. 20, Marcus Hersh of Daily Racing Form wrote for DRF Live: “SEEKING THE SOUL (6) has ability, trainer Dallas Stewart is fairly certain, and he thinks the colt will run well making his debut.”

Seeking the Soul backed up his trainer’s words by turning in a solid second in the six-furlong maiden event. Third-place finisher Twizz returned to break his maiden.

Then, Seeking the Soul competed on Derby Day at Churchill Downs, turning in a somewhat disappointing fifth-place finish in another maiden sprint. The comments indicate he had a mild run and flattened.

Later in the month, the maiden-breaking win came at the distance of one mile and shows improvement. For one, he showed greater positional speed and never was more than two lengths off the leader. His TimeformUS Speed Figure also jumped from 102 to 114, which fits with the top horses in this spot.

To compare, Exaggerator earned a TimeformUS Speed Figure of 122 when capturing the Preakness Stakes (GI). While 122 defeats 114, Exaggerator made his 11th lifetime start in the Preakness, and Seeking the Soul will run for the fourth time this week. It is reasonable to assume Seeking the Soul has room to move up.

From reading Stewart’s comments in the Churchill notes, he seems to hold Seeking the Soul in higher regard than his stablemate and fellow Belmont contestant Forever d’Oro.

“Seeking the Soul ran so fast the other day and we think he’s a quality horse,” Stewart said. “The other horse (Forever d’Oro) broke his maiden at Belmont, looked great doing it and has a great pedigree.”

“They’re both nice horses.”

Yes, while both are nice horses, he expresses stronger enthusiasm for Seeking the Soul.

Pedigree nerds must give Seeking the Soul consideration as well. His sire Perfect Soul offers wonderful long-distance influences as a son of Sadler’s Wells and a Secretariat mare. On the bottom side, Seeking the Soul’s third dam is the undefeated 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) champion Personal Ensign.

Besides Personal Ensign, stamina influences underneath appear immediately with the dam Seeking the Title, who is a daughter of 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) runner-up Seeking the Gold and granddaughter of 2001 Kentucky Derby (GI) champion Monarchos. No wonder Seeking the Soul lost his initial two sprint races!

Bloodlines only help to an extent when handicapping, but Seeking the Soul’s family looks outstanding for this kind of race. No reason exists from a pedigree standpoint for not lasting the 1 1/2 miles.

For what it is worth, assistant trainer Bentley Combs liked the colt’s appearance when arriving at Belmont.

“ … Seeking the Soul, he was real fired up and feeling good so that’s encouraging,” he said.

If Seeking the Soul continues to progress, and a few others regress due to the distance, he will be right there towards the end at double-digit odds. Get ready for the exotics to blow up when this horse hits the board.

Related Links:
Gettysburg Muddles Pace Scenario in Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes 2016 Odds and Post Positions
Race 11 6:37 p.m. ET
1. Governor Malibu 12-1 Joel Rosario/Christophe Clement
2. Destin 6-1 Javier Castellano/Todd Pletcher
3. Cherry Wine 8-1 Corey Lanerie/Dale Romans
4. Suddenbreakingnews 10-1 Mike Smith/Donnie Von Hemel
5. Stradivari 5-1 John Velazquez/Todd Pletcher
6. Gettysburg 30-1 Paco Lopez/Steve Asmussen
7. Seeking the Soul 30-1 Florent Geroux/Dallas Stewart
8. Forever d’Oro 30-1 Jose Ortiz/Dallas Stewart
9. Trojan Nation 30-1 Aaron Gryder/Patrick Gallagher
10. Lani 20-1 Yutaka Take/M. Mikio
11. Exaggerator 9-5 Kent Desormeaux/Keith Desormeaux
12. Brody’s Cause 20-1 Luis Saez/Dale Romans
13. Creator 10- 1 Irad Ortiz Jr./Steve Asmussen