TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I)

(gr. I , 6f ,)

MIDNIGHT LUTE (DK B/ h, 126 lb) $1,080,000
Real Quiet —Candytuft , by Dehere
B—Marjac Farms, KY.; O—Watson and Weitman Performances, LLC and Pegram, Michael E.; T—Bob Baffert

Idiot Proof (B h, 123 lb) $400,000
Benchmark —Perfectly Pretty , by Bertrando
B—Pam & Martin Wygod, CA.; O—Wygod, Pam and Martin; T—Clifford W. Sise, Jr.

Talent Search (CH h, 126 lb) $200,000
Catienus —Mrs. K. , by Dixieland Band
B—Sarah K. Ramsey, KY.; O—Ramsey, Kenneth L. and Sarah K.; T—Mark Shuman

Margins: 4¾, 1¾, 2½. Others: Benny the Bull 126($102,000) , Kelly's Landing 126($50,000) , Bordonaro 126 , Commentator 126 , Greg's Gold 126 , Smokey Stover 126 , Forefathers 123 . Winning Jockey, Garrett K. Gomez.

Midnight Lute has a history of breathing problems, which have been a headache for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman and trainer Bob Baffert. But following the 4-year-old colt’s impressive victory in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I)-only the 10th start of his career-it seems safe to say that both Midnight Lute and his connections can now breathe easier.

Bred by Tom Evans, Macon Wilmil Equines, and Marjac Farms (the latter two the noms de course for Dr. Ted Forrest and Rich Burke, respectively), Midnight Lute is the third grade I winner for 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) winner Real Quiet, who stands at Pin Oak Lane Farm near New Freedom, Pa. The stallion is represented by 13 stakes winners from five crops of racing age and, thanks to Midnight Lute, is now leading the Pennsylvania sire list for 2007.

“Real Quiet is one of the best sires of graded stakes winners outside Kentucky,” said Pin Oak Lane’s owner, veterinarian William Solomon. “He’s bred a variety of mares and really throws speed. And it’s often speed that can carry over a distance.”

Midnight Lute is out of Candytuft, an unraced daughter of 1993 U.S. champion juvenile male Dehere. Currently standing at Ashford Stud, Dehere is the broodmare sire of 15 stakes winners from 565 foals of racing age produced from his daughters. Midnight Lute is his second grade or group I winner as a maternal grandsire; his first, the Flying Spur filly Forensics (out of Dehere’s Australian-bred daughter Prove It) won Australia’s top event for juveniles, the AAMI Golden Slipper Stakes (Aust-I), earlier this year.

Dehere is a grandson of Vice Regent, who is also the broodmare sire of another of Real Quiet’s graded winners, 2007 Texas Mile (gr. III) victor Silent Pleasure. Vice Regent also figures in the pedigree of Real Quiet’s Canadian stakes winner Bull Ranch as the broodmare sire of the gelding’s broodmare sire, Marquetry.

Real Quiet’s success with mares returning Northern Dancer, or the Dancer’s sire Nearctic, is not limited to Vice Regent, however. Real Quiet’s other two grade I winners were sired from mares from other branches of Nearctic’s male line; Pussycat Doll is out of Hookedonthefeelin, a paternal granddaughter of Northern Dancer’s good son Dixieland Band, while Wonder Lady Anne L was produced from Ancho, a male-line descendant of Nearctic’s good sire son Icecapade. In fact, of Real Quiet’s 13 stakes winners, 10 trace to Northern Dancer or other sources of Nearctic in some part of their dams’ pedigrees.

Midnight Lute’s female family came to the U.S. through 1959 Oaks d’Italia winner champion Feria (by Toulouse Lautrec), who was imported following her racing career. She produced four stakes winners, the best of which was Gyr. Popularly known as “the magnificent Gyr,” the son of Sea-Bird ran second to Nijinsky II in the 1970 Epsom Derby and won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud against his elders.

Berkut, third dam of Midnight Lute, a 1971 full sister to Gyr, won the 1974 Premio Baggio in Italy and produced three stakes winners from six foals to live. The best of them, Alydar’s Best (by Alydar), won the 1984 Grand Criterium (Fr-I), and the following year, she won the Eyrefield Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-II) and ran second in the Gilltown Stud Irish Oaks (Ire-I).

Bolt From the Blue (by Olden Times’ grade II-winning son Blue Times) was not quite so good as her half-sister but was nonetheless a classy mare on her own account, finishing third in the 1983 E.P. Taylor Stakes (gr. IIT) and winning a division of the 1984 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIIT). Unfortunately, she was not a good producer by the standards of her family, with only two stakes-placed runners and four minor winners from 11 named foals.

Bolt From the Blue was purchased by Stanley D. Petter Jr., at the 1983 Keeneland January sale as a newly turned 3-year-old. Consigned by Dr. William Reed, agent for the estate of Winston Guest, Petter paid $60,000 for the filly as agent for Mary Lu Noonan and trainer Horatio Luro’s wife, Frances. She was sold privately by the women to Sheikh Mohammed after becoming a stakes winner.

Candytuft, who was Bolt From the Blue’s ninth foal, was purchased by Tom Evans’ Trackside Farm, agent, for $55,000 while in foal to Alydeed from the 1999 Keeneland November mixed sale.

“She was a great-looking mare,” said Evans, “but she had some bone issue or another (issue) and couldn’t race. Real Quiet has a great profile-he’s a big, stretchy stallion-and it seemed to be a great physical match. And he stood in the range my co-owners and I were working in at the time.”

As the co-breeder of graded stakes winners Henny Hughes, Badge of Silver, Strong Hope, and Vegas Prospector, Evans obviously has a good eye for a mating that will create a racehorse’s physique, though it took a few tries to find the right combination for Candytuft. Midnight Lute is her fourth foal and second winner, following unraced Fancy Deed (2000 filly by Alydeed), one-time winner Meadow Soprano (2001 filly by Meadowlake), and unraced Jet Radar (2002 colt by Mr. Greeley).

Following Midnight Lute’s foaling in 2003, Candytuft was barren in 2004. Her 2005 filly by Gilded Time, Tusculum Rd, ran third in the White Clay Creek Stakes earlier this year, and the mare has a yearling colt by Sir Cherokee and a weanling colt by the late Maria’s Mon. Candytuft is in foal to Empire Maker. By Avalyn Hunter