Eclipse Award attendees and the TVG viewers tuned in on the night of Jan. 26 were anticipating, and many were hoping, that Curlin would repeat as Horse of the Year.
Midnight Lute, the only horse to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) twice, has been retired from racing and will stand at John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farms near Lexington in 2009.
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) 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.
Bob Baffert will send out a pair of Breeders' Cup champions this weekend in Midnight Lute and Indian Blessing, hoping to repeat his strong 2007 World Championships.
Past Breeders' Cup champions Curlin, Kip Deville, Ginger Punch, Indian Blessing, Midnight Lute, Better Talk Now, and Red Rocks are back trying for more glory.
Cost of Freedom and Street Boss drew posts 1 and 2, respectively, for the Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). The pair had finished one-two in the Sept. 27 Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I) over the same Pro-Ride synthetic surface they will be competing on in the Oct. 25 Sprint.
Midnight Lute, the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner, worked a half-mile at Santa Anita Oct. 20. The official clockers timed him in :46.80 on the Pro-Ride surface, while trainer Bob Baffert clocked him in :47.07.
Trainer Bob Baffert will be trying to accomplish something in the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) never done before-win the race twice with the same horse.
Illinois shipper Lewis Michael got a perfect setup along the inside to post a runaway upset in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Aug. 24. Champion sprinter Midnight Lute failed to fire.
Midnight Lute, last year's Eclipse Award champion sprinter, has been tearing up the track in the mornings as he prepares for his 2008 debut in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Aug. 24.
Sprint champion Midnight Lute appears to be ready for his next start after working faster than the track record for seven furlongs on Del Mar's Polytrack racing surface Aug. 7.
Bustin Stones worked March 22 in preparation for his grade I debut in the Carter Handicap on April 5. Trainer Bruce Levine said the undefeated colt will run on Lasix.
Curlin, the 2007 Horse of the Year in North America and officially the world's highest-rated horse still in training, heads a list of 169 horses nominated for the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) sponsored by Emirates Airline March 29.
Nominated as one of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's moments of the year, Midnight Lute's TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) feat cemented him as the obvious choice for an Eclipse Award as champion of his division.
With TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Midnight Lute skipping the race, synthetic track standout In Summation takes center stage in the $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) over the Santa Anita Cushion Track Jan. 21.
For trainer Nick Zito, this week has truly been the best of times and the worst of times, at least where older horses are concerned. One day after 5-year-old Hesanoldsalt had to be euthanized following a freak accident at Palm Meadows, 7-year-old Commentator set a track record at Gulfstream Park - and blew away his competition with a 14-length victory Jan. 17.
Midnight Lute worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:10.60 on Santa Anita's Cushion Track Jan. 14 in preparation for the Jan. 21 Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II).
Midnight Lute, expected to earn an Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding sprinter in 2007 after his stirring win in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), is being targeted for the Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) to begin his 2008 campaign.
Shadwell Stable's Daaher upset Midnight Lute, the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner, by 2 1/2 lengths in the $294,000 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct on Nov. 24. Midnight Lute, the 1-2 favorite in the five-horse field, finished second.
When you have a horse at the top of his game, seize the moment and have some fun, says trainer Bob Baffert. With an Eclipse Award as top sprinter all but a certainty, Midnight Lute looks to add to his laurels in the $300,000 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr.I) at Aqueduct Nov. 24.
Tasteyville, who easily won the Sport Page Handicap (gr. III) Oct. 27, will not run in the Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct Nov. 24 because of a minor leg injury.
Mike Pegram's Midnight Lute, winner of the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), is expected for the Nov. 24 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I), which highlights Aqueduct's HolidayFest.
Start engraving the Eclipse Awards. This year's honors are all but a done deal. Despite the horrible conditions at Monmouth Park, the Breeders' Cup World Championships were surprisingly formful, with several favorites and leading contenders turning in dominating performances.
- By Ron Mitchell
Now as a sire, Classic winner Real Quiet is responsible for one of America's top sprinters, as evidenced by Midnight Lute's scintillating victory in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
With a strong last-to-first move in the slop at Monmouth Park, Midnight Lute stormed to a 4 3/4-length victory over the front-running Idiot Proof in the $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Jockeys John Velazquez and Garrett Gomez offered opinions on their Breeders' Cup mounts in an Oct. 25 press conference held at Monmouth Park the day before the Oct. 26-27 event was to get under way.
Watson and Weitman Performances and Mike Pegram's Midnight Lute, impressive winner of the Sept. 1 Forego Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga in his last start, is the early 2-1 favorite in a field of 11 entered in the $2-million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
Breeders' Cup prospects Tale of Ekati and Benny the Bull both breezed on the fast Monmouth Park track Oct. 16 in preparation for their respective races, the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
Southern California trainer Bob Baffert continues to see dividends from his decision to take a string from his Southern California stable to Saratoga. In the $250,000 Forego Handicap (gr. I), his Midnight Lute made the lead on the turn of the seven-furlong test and rolled to his first grade I win by more than two lengths under substitute rider Shaun Bridgmohan.
New York: Either love it or hate it. There is no doubt what side of the fence High Finance falls on. The 4-year-old colt has started five times in the Empire State, and won four races. In nine other career tries, the Kentucky-bred has won just once. Go figure.
Silent Name, making his initial start on a synthetic surface, won for the first time in more than a year when he dominated 10 foes in the $400,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Keeneland Saturday.
Midnight Lute, who scored his first career stakes victory last October in Keeneland's Perryville (gr. III), returns to the Lexington track for the $400,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) on Saturday.
Trainer Bob Baffert has two offspring of Real Quiet on target for stakes engagements in Kentucky. Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) winner Pussycat Doll will likely defend her title in the Humana Distaff Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs May 5, while Perryville Stakes (gr. III) winner Midnight Lute is pointing for the Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Keeneland April 14.
Jay Em Ess Stable's Arson Squad shot through along the inside mid-stretch, going on to capture the $300,000 Strub (gr. II) for 4-year-olds by 1 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita Saturday.
Brother Derek, his career on a downturn since a fourth straight graded stakes victory in last April's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), needs a return to his best form in Saturday's 60th running of the $300,000 Strub Stakes (gr. II) at his favorite track.
Upsetter Awesome Gem unleashed a terrific stretch drive to snatch victory from Midnight Lute in the final strides of the $200,000 San Fernando (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park Saturday.
Likely favorites Brother Derek and Arson Squad will switch riders for Saturday's $200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
Garrett Gomez is likely to be aboard Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Brother Derek in the $250,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita on opening day Tuesday.
Midnight Lute, a recent arrival from California trained by Bob Baffert, drew off by 4 3/4 lengths in winning the $200,000 Perryville Stakes (presented by Budweiser Select) (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Keeneland Friday.
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