Full Moon Fever: Midnight Lute Last to First in Sprint

Full Moon Fever: Midnight Lute Last to First in Sprint
Photo: Jeffrey Snyder
From last to first for Midnight Lute in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
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Favored Midnight Lute unleashed a powerful last-to-first move in the home stretch at sloppy Monmouth Park, storming to a 4 3/4-length victory over the front-running Idiot Proof in the $1,832,000 TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I).

Midnight Lute’s score Oct. 27 was the second Breeders’ Cup win on the day for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Garrett Gomez. They teamed to win the first Breeders’ Cup race of the day, the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with Indian Blessing. It was the fourth stakes triumph of the day for Gomez.

“What a horse!" Baffert exclaimed. "He’s just getting better and better. When he didn’t break, I said, ‘Oh my God.’ It was an incredible run he made.  

"He’s the best one I’ve ever led over here to the Breeders’ Cup. I always thought he was in the ‘top 10’ of all my horses. Now he’s in the ‘top five.’”

Midnight Lute, a 4-year-old son of Real Quiet—Candytuft, by Dehere, is owned by Michael Pegram and Watson & Weitman Performance. Pegram was the owner of Real Quiet, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (gr. I) in 1998.

The objection sign was posted immediately after the race as Ryan Fogelsonger, the rider of third-place finisher Talent Search, claimed foul against runner-up Idiot Proof, who did bear in late down the lane. The objection was not allowed.

“I told (the stewards) that the second-place horse (Idiot Proof) came over on me down the stretch a little too early and it really made me have to take hold of my horse and pull him outside," Fogelsonger said. "The difference between second and third is a lot more money for the owners.”

Before the start of the race, Commentator, in post 6 broke open the barrier to the starting gate but did not go through. He was backed out of the gate and reloaded. At the break, Talent Search, Commentator, and Idiot Proof went after it hot and heavy for the lead while Midnight Lute seemed to break a bit slowly and was toward the back of the pack. Talent Search—pressed by Idiot Proof—set zippy early splits of 21:2 and 44 flat in the six-furlong race.

As the field turned for home, Idiot Proof wrested the lead from Talent Search and began to draw clear. Midnight Lute came storming down the center of the track to blow the field away. Idiot Proof finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Talent Search, who had 2 1/2 lengths on fourth-place finisher Benny the Bull.

“He really didn’t break all that bad," Gomez said. "The horse Fogelsonger was on (Talent Search) made us take back. I felt really comfortable at the half.  I felt that we had a good shot. I made the decision to come around horses and Commentator took us out a little farther than I would have liked, but once I got him clear, he came on.”

The five-furlong split was 56:2 and the final time for the three-quarters of a mile was 1:09.18.

Midnight Lute returned $7, $4, and $3, while Idiot Proof, ridden by David Flores paid $6.60 and $4.60. Talent Search paid $8.60 to show. The $2 exacta paid $49.80 and the $1 trifecta paid $242.60.

“I think he was running great, but (Midnight Lute) came out of nowhere," said Flores. "I think this horse is very honest and was trying every jump."

Bred in Kentucky by Tom Evans, Macon Wilmil Equines and Marjac Farms, Midnight Lute has now won five of 10 career starts. He came into the Sprint off a 2 1/4-length win in the Forego Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 1 at Saratoga. He earned, $1,080,000 for the victory and has now banked $1,550,600.

Kelly's Landing finished fifth, followed by Bordonaro, Commentator, Greg's Gold, Smokey Stover, and Forefathers.

(Chart, Equibase)

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