Diana & Sanford
Saratoga Opening Day
Yellow Ribbon Hcp.
Jockey Garrett Gomez celebrates aboard Midnight Lute after winning the Sprint.
The $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) is the shortest race of the Championships, with a field of ten older horses (down from the originally drawn 11 after the withdrawal of Attila's Storm) going 6 furlongs around one turn of the sloppy main track at Monmouth Park. Forego (G1) winner Midnight Lute was sent off as the 5-2 favorite over 4-1 second choice Smokey Stover, winner of the Icecapade over the same track and distance, as well as the Potrero Grande (G2) and the Bay Meadows Sprint (G3) at home in California. 6-1 Idiot Proof, winner of the Ancient Title (G1), a "Win and You're In" qualifier, rounded out the top 3 on the board.
Down the stretch they splash as Midnight Lute takes the lead over Idiot Proof and Talent Search.
Midnight Lute wins the Sprint
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Midnight Lute Gomez 7.00 4.00 3.00 7 Idiot Proof Flores 6.60 4.60 4 Talent Search Fogelsonger 8.60 Winning Time: 1:09.18 $2 Exacta 2-7 49.80 $1 Trifecta 2-7-4 242.60 $1 Superfecta 2-7-4-8 1,374.40Results chart
Midnight Lute gets his flowers. His jockey Garrett Gomez said, "He really didn't break all that bad. The horse (Ryan) Fogelsonger was on (Talent Search) made us take back. I felt really comfortable at the half. I felt that we had a good shot. I made the decision to come around horses and Commentator took us out a little farther than I would have liked, but once I got him clear, he came on."
Midnight Lute in the winner's circle with his winner's blanket. His trainer Bob Baffert said, "I've always liked the fact that I trained (his sire) Real Quiet, he was so good to us and he was a good horse himself and he reminded me of Real Quiet the way he came down the stretch with his ears flopping around. It was really exciting, but the way he did it, it's always shown that we've thought great things of this horse and today he really put in a performance. I remember going to the Breeders' Cup and watching the Arazi move, and now we're going to call it the Midnight Lute move."
Garret Gomez concentrates as Midnight Lute heads out for the post parade. His co-owner Mike Pegram said, "you know how hard it is to get to the Breeders' Cup. And to be lucky enough to get here, and the one thing that's great about racing is when you can enjoy it with your friends. To have two partners like Carl and Paul, I mean, it just makes it that much more sweeter.” Co-owner Carl Watson added, “The last couple races, you know, the way he's stepped up, I wouldn't count anything out at this point, but you can't take anything for granted. It's a tough business. We'll take it a week at a time and a day at a time."
Left: Second place finisher Idiot Proof returns after the race.
Right: Idiot Proof was a "Win and You're In" entry after winning the Ancient Title at Santa Anita. Here he is entering the paddock wearing the blanket he got after that win. His jockey David Flores said, "I think he was running great, but (Midnight Lute) came out of nowhere. I think this horse is very honest and was trying every jump. At the top of the stretch, I went left-handed to try to make him run and he gave a good effort. I was very pleased with him."
His trainer Clifford Sise Jr. said, "I thought
he was home free. I figure he had to come back in 20 days (since Ancient
Title), and he didn't run with that little extra 'oomph.' I knew
Baffert's horse was training good, but I didn't know if he would like
Third place finisher Talent Search in the paddock. His jockey Ryan Fogelsonger said, "I told (the stewards) that (Idiot Proof) came over on me down the stretch a little too early and it really made me have to take hold of my horse and pull him outside. The difference between second and third is a lot more money for the owners."
His trainer Mark Shuman said, "He really ran a good race. I can't complain. He's a nice horse. When someone comes out like that, you have to ask (claim foul). At first I thought he took a bad step, but Ryan (Fogelsonger) said he felt good after. The
winner (Midnight Lute) really ran off at the end. We ran a good race."
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