Barrister Hall Stable's Midnight Cry, with jockey Edgar Prado showing the way, caught Chimichurri in the stetch and drew off to win Friday's $100,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. III) in a mild surprise at Gulfstream Park Friday.
Second in December's Great State Challenge Juvenile Fillies, the 3-year-old daughter of Strike Smart scored a 2 3/4-length triumph over Final Round, who stumbled badly at the start but recovered to finish well in the seven-furlong event under jockey Pat Day. Chimichurri held on to third, a half-length ahead of 5-2 second choice House Party. The slight 5-2 favorite, Fast Cookie, tired after vying with Chimichurri for the early lead. Final time was 1:22.55.
Trained by Ken McPeek, Midnight Cry, breaking from the inside in the field of eight, settled nicely behind the leaders at the rail, angled out midway through the turn for home and caught Chimichurri in early stretch. She drew clear under steady pressure from Prado.
With John Velazquez riding, Chimichurri, the 7-2 third choice, broke sharply to get the early lead on the inside of Fast Cookie through a first quarter-mile in :22.08. Fast Cookie and Jerry Bailey took the lead on the backstretch after completing the opening half-mile in :44.42, but was soon headed once more by Chimichurri, who could not hold off the winner in the stretch. House Party, with jockey Jose Santos, was well back early and never made a serious run at the leaders.
A chestnut filly out of the Sovereign Dancer mare Mythical Dancer, Midnight Cry was bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm Inc. & Peter J. Callahan.
Sent off at 9-2, the winner paid $11.20, $6.40 and $3.80. Final Round returned $6 and $3.80. Chimichurri's show price was $3. The $2 exacta was $83.40.