FOLLOWING a desperate chase down the backstretch El Poderoso collared the long-time leader Uppa Tune in the stretch drive, but had to hold off a stubborn Traditional Prince with a determined late run to win the seventh running of the $1,000,000 Seek Exercise Book Trophy feature by one length at Caymanas Park, yesterday.
Guided by top jockey Winston Griffiths, El Poderoso ran 1,300 metres in Stakes record time of 1:17.1 minutes to give trainer Philip Feanny his second consecutive success in the event.
The Stakes record, which stood at 1:17.2 minutes, was set by Saint Cecelia, who is owned by the same connections as El Poderoso. Reasonable Press, who gave Feanny his first success in the sixth running of the Seek last year, was never in the hunt this year under claiming apprentice Orlando Foster, and had to be content with a sixth-place finish in the field of 10.
Traditional Prince, a 10-1 shot who was always close to the pace, gained steadily after setting down for the drive under champion jockey Dane Nelson and threw out a strong challenge to El Poderoso, as they approached the wire. However, according to Griffiths, he was never perturbed. "I was never bothered by what was coming from behind. All that I was asking for was for the winning post to come," he said. And so it did with Traditional Prince still one length adrift second.
The Guv, a 7-1 bet, found his running legs late in the drive to finish third, another four lengths back ridden by the claiming apprentice Romario Saunders.
Uppa Tune, who set the early fractions of 23.0, 45.2 and 1:11.0 piloted by the leading rider Omar Walker, completed the frame another three parts of a length farther back as a 9-2 chance.
Owned by WP Valentine Chung & Clovis G Metcalfe & Robert F Chung, El Poderoso, a four-year-old bay colt by Even The Score out of Color Her Gone (War) bred by McDowell Farm in the USA, was winning for the seventh time from 18 career starts and earned $546,000 as the winner's share for earnings of $3,802,400 lifetime.
Meanwhile, in another of the four trophy races on the programme, the Anthony Nunes-trained Marine Drive, ridden by Andre Martin, won the Seek Employees Trophy; I've Been Chosen, ridden by claiming apprentice Kuri Powell, won the Double Line Trophy, while 5-2 chance Humble Lion, ridden by claiming apprentice Ruja Lahoe, won the Seek Customer Trophy, a maiden special weight contest for native-bred three-year-olds.
No owner, trainer, jockey or breeder won more than one race yesterday.