Riding his fourth Breeders' Cup winner of the weekend, Garrett Gomez guided Midnight Lute to his second win in the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) (VIDEO) Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park.
The son of Real Quiet won the Sprint last year. The final time for six furlongs was 1:07.08, lowering the Breeders’ Cup mark of 1:07.77 previously held by Kona Gold.
Fatal Bullet jumped out of the gate first in the Sprint but allowed First Defence to take over. The first quarter-mile was :21.28, followed by a :43.85 half-mile. Fatal Bullet took over again on the far turn and opened up daylight, but Midnight Lute rallied on the far outside and wore down Fatal Bullet in midstretch.
The winner paid $7.40, $5, and $3.40. Fatal Bullet held on for second, 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to third-place finisher Street Boss .
Just as he did in 2007 when he took the Sprint at Monmouth Park, the 5-year-old horse likely secured a second consecutive Eclipse Award with his Sprint victory. In addition to being Gomez’ fourth winner of the Oct. 24-25 World Championships weekend, it was the second victory of the day for trainer Bob Baffert, who also won the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) with Midshipman and Gomez.
The Sprint was only the second start of the year for the champion, who finished 10th as the 9-10 favorite in the Pat O’Brien Handicap (gr. II).
“He actually settled better without the blinkers on, and I had to ask him to stay up with the pace,” Gomez said. “He waited on my commands, which has been unlike him, even last year in the Sprint, which makes him that much better. I’m very happy with his performance. He got into that long stride. After he went past the wire, his ears went up and he began looking at everything. He enjoyed himself, taking it all in like an old pro.
"He's a big old colt. He's something else. Without the blinkers, I wanted to get the jump on (jockey David) Flores (on Street Boss). I knew if I could do that, we'd get there.”
“Winning this race twice shows what a great horse he really is,” Baffert said. “He is a freak. He had a hock injury after he won last year, and we thought we were going to have to retire him. We X-rayed him after 60 days and it had healed. We tried to get a race into him at Del Mar, and it didn’t work out (10th in Pat O’Brien).
"We took the blinkers off. He is getting old and he doesn’t need blinkers. I’ve always been bragging on him, but today he showed what a great horse he is. I've never seen a horse like this. He's the best horse I've ever trained.”
Midnight Lute is a son of 1998 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner and champion 3-year-old colt Real Quiet. He is the only stakes winner produced from his dam, the unraced Dehere mare Candytuft, who is also the dam of stakes-placed Tusculum Road.
Bred in Kentucky by Tom Evans, Macon Wilmil Equines, and Marjac Farms, Midnight Lute races for Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Weitman Performance. He was sold for $70,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.
|Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I)|
|1. Midnight Lute||$7.40||$5.00||$3.20|
|2. Fatal Bullet||$6.60||$3.80|
|3. Street Boss||$2.40|