Seal Team made the best out of his stakes debut on Saturday when the WAR FRONT colt was a determined winner of the Twilight Derby (G2).
Seal Team broke strongly in the 1 1/8-mile turf race before Umberto Rispoli settled him on the rail in midpack. They stayed in that spot until they entered the turn when he moved a path out to work his way through the back runners. He still had much to do coming into the stretch but forced himself through a hole to get the clear running he needed if he had a chance at the win.
Rolling on the outside of horses, Seal Team had his head in front just in time to win by half a length with a battle for second behind him.
“We have always had big hopes for this horse,” winning trainer Richard Mandella said. “We thought he would be a good one. I didn’t tell Umberto (Rispoli) a thing in the paddock. I just wished him luck.”
The 115th stakes winner for WAR FRONT, Seal Team has won three of his five starts as a homebred for Ramona and Perry Bass. He’s a second-generation trainee for Mandella, who also trained his Grade 2 winning dam Mrs. McDougal.
Also Grade 1-placed Mrs. McDougal is out of the multiple stakes winner Distorted Passion, who is also the dam of multiple stakes-placed Pendleton.
Seal Team is the 11th stakes winner of the year for WAR FRONT, who also has 18 stakes performers with 11 of those coming in graded stakes.