A day after the colt turned in a five-furlong drill at Santa Anita, trainer Carla Gaines says she's forging ahead with Midnight Transfer to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 7.
Gaines' main client Warren B. Williamson owns the Hard Spun colt who was third in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) March 10 at 14-1 odds. It was an encouraging effort in Midnight Transfer's first try around two turns, finishing behind only Santa Anita Derby favorites Creative Cause and Bodemeister in the 1 1/16-mile test.
Midnight Transfer, who has two wins in six lifetime starts, began the year with a victory in the 6 1/2-furlong San Pedro Stakes March 22.
“I’ll be a longshot in the Santa Anita Derby, but it is what it is," said Gaines March 25. "Mr. Williamson (who is 83) is having some health issues and he wants to see his horse run here and he wants to try the Derby, so the pressure is off. We’re just going to do it and see what happens.”
In his first work since the San Felipe, Midnight Transfer worked five furlongs handily in :59 4/5 at Santa Anita March 24. It was ranked the 10th fastest move at the distance on the morning.
“Anytime you have a good horse it’s satisfying, of course,” said Gaines, an Alabama native who attained national prominence in 2007 when Nashoba’s Key won her first seven starts. The streak came to end with a fourth-place finish on a soggy turf course in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Monmouth Park.