Midnight Crooner

Midnight Crooner

Benoit Photo

Midnight Crooner Returns in Sir Beaufort

War Chant colt will make first start since off-the-board finish Sept. 2.

Several 3-year-old colts will try to break through in the $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIT) Dec. 26 at Santa Anita Park, opening day at the Arcadia, Calif. track.

The lone stakes winner in the field of eight 3-year-olds going one mile on the turf is Midnight Crooner, who took the Oceanside Stakes at the same mile distance on the turf July 18 at Del Mar. Trained by Bob Baffert, the Arnold Zetcher homebred will be making his first start since finishing off the board in the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Sept. 2.

A son of War Chant, Midnight Crooner has started three times at one mile on the turf. Besides the Oceanside win, he boasts an allowance victory and a third-place finish in the Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita.

Baffert will also send out Gary and Mary West’s Conspiracy, a son of Giant's Causeway. Previously trained by Chad Brown, Conspiracy has one win from four starts.

Two of the other accomplished runners in the field include grade III-placed Battle Force, who enters off a runner-up finish in a Nov. 17 main-track race at Betfair Hollywood Park, and Smart Ellis, who finished third in the Twilight Derby (gr. IIT) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

Fit to Rule, a smashing 9 1/2-length maiden winner going 1 1/16 miles on synthetic Cushion Track Nov. 24, is well drawn at the rail and tries turf for the first time. Trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden again by Edwin Maldonado, the Kentucky-bred colt by Hard Spun  is owned by George Bolton and Fog City Stable.

Big Bane Theory and Silentio, trained by Carla Gaines and Gary Mandella, respectively, both have solid turf credentials.  While never a factor at 18-1 in the Hollywood Derby (gr.IT) Nov. 25, Big Bane Theory was a neck shy of being 3-for-3 going into the Derby and will look to rebound under Joe Talamo. 
Silentio has been freshened since Oct. 12, when he ran a close-up third going 1 1/8 miles at odds of 5-2.  A Kentucky-bred son of the Sunday Silence stallion Silent Name , Silentio is owned by his breeders, Wertheimer and Frere.

$150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 5, 2:05 p.m. PT), 3YOs, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Fit to Rule (KY), E. Maldonado, D. O’Neill
2. Press Baron (GB), V. Espinoza, P. Gallagher
3. Smart Ellis (KY), J. Leparoux, R. Mandella
4. Big Bane Theory (CA) J. Talamo, C. Gaines
5. Midnight Crooner (KY) M. Garcia, B. Baffert
6. Conspiracy (KY), G. Gomez, B. Baffert
7. Battle Force (KY) M. Smith, J. Shirreffs
8. Silentio (KY) R. Bejarano, G. Mandella
All carry 118 pounds