The Dowager Stakes at Keeneland on Sunday went to the classy Black Minnaloushe mare Black Mamba over the game Winter View (Thunder Gulch) and Ballynoe (Distorted Humor). But lost among the final result was an astonishing performance by sixth-place finisher Kite Seeker.
The dark brown daughter of Seeking a Home had no gate speed, giving her competition a sizable early advantage, but as the field came down the backstretch of this three-turn race around the Keeneland turf course, Kite Seeker was sweeping past the other runners while under a hold. Now the field was going slowly (half in :54.31), but the mare ran up to third place entering the turn while nearly six paths off the rail.
Then Kite Seeker floundered around the turn, dropping back notably. She came on again in the first run through the Keeneland stretch, and by the time the leaders were entering the second turn, Kite Runner was at their girth.
She ran wide, losing ground and more importantly momentum, around the turn and was shuffled back to fifth or sixth for the second trip down the backstretch.
Kite Seeker came on again, although more slowly, because the other fillies and mares were getting into high gear. She got on terms with the leaders just before the third turn, was head and head for second with eventual fourth-place finisher Caprice before losing momentum around the turn, but responded gamely through the stretch, could not outkick the leaders, and finished sixth.
Clearly, from her repeated runs, this is a filly with some class and ability. But she needs a different sort of course. A leggy and rather high-actioned filly who stands over a lot of ground, Kite Seeker is not balancing well as she comes around the turns, loses her momentum, and needs time to rebalance and regain momentum. She is going to have trouble earning her way unless she finds a more suitable galloping track with much wider turns. How about Ascot or Doncaster? Or even Belmont over the dirt course?