Fox Hill Farms' Battle of Midway , who came in third in the San Vicente Stakes (G2), was able to get the best of a deep field of 3-year-olds in Santa Anita Park's seventh race March 9, a two-turn optional-claiming allowance event.
The Smart Strike colt got away cleanly and avoided traffic outside the field, which bunched up in the backstretch and into the turn for home, where he put a head in front of Mr. Hinx and pulled away with Reach the World chasing.
Battle of Midway finished the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.16 with jockey Flavien Prat aboard for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Video: Race 7 (AOC) at SA on 3/9/17
"He was wide almost the whole way and handled himself well," Hollendorfer said. "I thought Prat rode a brilliant race on him, so I'm very pleased. Once he got the lead, it didn't look like he was going to give it up and he didn't."
Heavily favored Reach the World broke in the air and was shuffled back to last at the start. The Tapit colt closed gamely in the stretch once he found running room and just missed by a neck. The Don Alberto homebred, trained by Bob Baffert, created quite a buzz on the Santa Anita backside and went off at odds of 6-5 in his third start.
Battle of Midway and Reach the World finished 5 1/4 lengths in front of Vexatious, a full sister to grade 1 winner and sire Creative Cause and 2016 classic contender Destin. The filly was boxed in and shuffled back before rallying for third in the homestretch.
Hollendorfer said Battle of Midway would possibly aim toward the Santa Anita Derby (G1).
"We have to look at (getting back on the Derby trail)," Hollendorfer said. "I thought this race was loaded with good horses and we beat them all, so he's a good horse too.
"We were thinking he would run better around two turns anyway."
Bred by Thor-Bred Stables, Battle of Midway is out of the grade 1-winning mare Rigoletta (Concerto) and was a $410,000 purchase by Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm during the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearlings sale from the Gainesway consignment.
Jeremy Balan contributed to this report.