Midnight Lucky Shakes Clear for Acorn Triumph
Midnight Lucky more than made up for her lackluster fifth-place performance in the May 3 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) when the Bob Baffert-trained filly unleashed a powerful 6 1/4-length victory in the May 25 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Belmont Park.
Owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman, the favored daughter of Midnight Lute completed the one-mile dirt contest in 1:35.11 under jockey Rosie Napravnik.
“We had a great trip,” said Napravnik after the race. “I really liked the post position (5) and we were able to sit off the speed. Kauai Katie actually kind of had to sit back, so it was good for us, too. This filly just did it very easily and she’s a very, very nice filly.”
Bred by C. Kidder and J.K. and Linda Griggs, Midnight Lucky was a $220,000 purchase at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale. The filly entered the Kentucky Oaks by merit of her 7 1/4-length maiden victory, as well as her track record-setting victory in the March 24 Sunland Park Oaks. Winning three of her four starts, she now has earnings of $362,100.
In the Acorn, 32-1 longshot Momentary Magic out-sprinted the six-horse field to the lead, zipping through an opening quarter in :22.53 and :45.28 for a half-mile, with Kauai Katie and Midnight Lucky trailing close behind.
Around the far turn, Midnight Lucky remained glued in second with Kauai Katie racing on the rail and Close Hatches making a sweeping move on the outside. At the top of the stretch, it was still a wide-open race until Midnight Lucky stepped on the gas and emerged with the lead.
Close Hatches continued to make a bid on the outside, but Midnight Lucky and Napravnik pulled away easily for the dominating victory.
“I was expecting maybe the 1 (Kauai Katie) to be on the lead, not the 2 (Momentary Magic), but other than that (the race) shaped up as I expected,” said Jim Barnes, assistant to Baffert. “I wanted to be sitting anywhere from 2 to 2 1/2 lengths off the pace, which we were. They were moving right along, and at no point did it look like she was struggling with the racetrack. She’s just a really nice filly and we’re so happy to train her. The plan right now is day-by-day. We’ll go back to Churchill and go from there.”
Another Kentucky Oaks starter, Close Hatches, finished second in the Acorn, three quarters of a length in front of Kauai Katie. Cue the Moon, Let Me Entertain, and Momentary Magic completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky, Midnight Lucky is out of the Citidancer mare Citiview.
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