Battle of Midway works six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 at Santa Anita

Battle of Midway works six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 at Santa Anita

Zoe Metz

Battle of Midway Logs Final Work for Kentucky Derby

Smart Strike colt covered six furlongs in 1:13 2/5.

WinStar Farm and Don Alberto Stable's Battle of Midway put in his final timed workout April 28 at Santa Anita Park in preparation for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1). He covered six furlongs in 1:13 2/5.

With trainer Jerry Hollendorfer watching from the Santa Anita grandstand, the Smart Strike colt started his drill about two lengths behind stablemate Mangita, was a length back at the top of the stretch, and cruised by to hit the wire two lengths on top under jockey Flavien Prat.

"He did it well," Hollendorfer said.

Battle of Midway set fractions of :24 4/5, :37, and :49 1/5, hit the wire in 1:00 4/5 for five furlongs, and continued his work another furlong past the wire, with a gallop out to seven furlongs in 1:27 4/5.

"I wanted to work him here for his last work, because I've had different kinds of results going to Churchill (Downs) early," Hollendorfer said. "I worked Pike Place Dancer there and she won the (Kentucky) Oaks, and I worked Event of the Year there and he got hurt. I would rather work him here and go there and stand him in the gate.

"A lot of guys—especially John Shirreffs and (Bobby) Frankel, when he was here—they like to ship in right on top of the race. There's different ways to do it, and that's the way we're doing it this time."

Battle of Midway will be the first Kentucky Derby mount for 24-year-old Prat, who didn't ride the colt in his second-place run in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) (he was on Iliad ), but did ride the bay in his last win, a March 9 allowance at Santa Anita.

"It was a good work," Prat said. "He finished strong, and that's what he needed. He galloped out well, too. The distance should be good for him."

Prat has not been in the chaos that is the Kentucky Derby on a dirt surface, but he has plenty of experience navigating large fields. A field of 20 horses was a common occurrence when he was riding in France prior to his move to Southern California.

"It was every day," Prat said of the large French fields on grass. "On dirt it's going to be different, but I'm going to just ride him and make him comfortable. ... It's hard to make plans with a 20-horse field. I'd rather just play it by ear."

Battle of Midway will ship to Kentucky early in the morning April 29.

Earlier in the morning Friday, two-time champion Songbird worked under jockey Mike Smith for Hollendorfer. She ran an easy half-mile in :48 2/5 and galloped out to five furlongs in 1:01 2/5.

"It was very nice," Hollendorfer said. "I talked to Mike after and he had good things to say."