LOUISVILLE, KY – Charles Fipke’s homebred Seeking the Soul used a slow pace to his advantage Saturday, staying close to the front before gunning down the leaders in the stretch to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from post 6 under Brian Hernandez, Jr., at 7/2 odds, Seeking the Soul sat within 2 lengths of early leader C Z Rocket through opening fractions of :24.03, :47.63, and 1:11.48. Swinging out to run four-wide in the far turn, Seeking the Soul took command midway down the stretch and fought on gamely to hold off a wall of horses behind him. The Dallas Stewart trainee crossed the wire with a 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:35.01 for the mile-long event over the main track.
“I think the slower pace helped me today,” Hernandez said. “I was able to keep up close to the pace and the leaders didn’t get away from me.”
Nice Not Nice scooted up the middle to steal second from Giant Expectations by a nose, while C Z Rocket faded late to take fourth. Awesome Slew ran into traffic trouble off of the far turn and could only muster fifth, though he was within a length of second. Warrior’s Club never factored and completed the order of finish. Flatlined was scratched.
Seeking the Soul’s win was his first since surprising in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap here last November. The 5-year-old son of Perfect Soul improved his overall record to 21-6-4-5 with earnings of $1,482,542.
“It looks like we have some decisions to make now,” Stewart said. “We’ll definitely look at the Breeders’ Cup but we’ll decide on the Dirt Mile or Classic. Mr. Fipke is simply a great owner. He’s a great person to work with and this night is absolutely awesome. We’re here with family and friends and we get to celebrate a great horse.”
Seeking the Soul returned $9.20 to win, $5.20 to place, and $3.40 to show. Nice Not Nice brought back $12.60 to place and $4.80 to show, while Giant Expectations paid $4.40 to show.