After terrible performances in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Midnight Interlude has been entered in an overnight stakes on the grass during the night card at Hollywood Park June 17.
Trainer Bob Baffert said he wanted to try a change of pace with the perplexing colt.
“I just want to see if he likes the turf,” the Hall of Fame trainer explained June 16.
Midnight Interlude is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $70,000 Tsunami Slew Stakes, a one-mile grass event that attracted a field of seven 3-year-olds. The race is the seventh on the card with a 9:53 p.m. PDT scheduled post.
Arnold Zetcher's homebred has a turf pedigree top and bottom. The bay colt is by 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner War Chant out of the New Zealand-bred mare Midnight Kiss, by Groom Dancer.
Baffert remains puzzled about Midnight Interlude’s disappointing performances in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 7, in which he finished 16th, and the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) two weeks later when he ran 13th. Those efforts followed a game victory by a head in the Santa Anita Derby April 9 at odds of nearly 14-1.
“I still don’t know why he didn’t run better back east,” said Baffert. “I’m trying to reverse his mindset.”
Midnight Interlude, who did not race at 2, has won two of six races this season while earning $649,680.
Among Midnight Interlude's foes in the Tsunami Slew is undefeated Temple's Door, a son of Leroidesanimaux who has won both of his starts on grass for trainer Carla Gaines. Also in the field is Glen Hill Farm's Extensive, winner of April's Sophomore Turf Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs for horses bred in Florida. Most recently, the Purge gelding was third in the Arlington Classic for trainer Tom Proctor.
Moment of Weakness, sidelined since finishing third in the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita Dec. 31, and La Puente Stakes winner Surrey Star are also part of the lineup.