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Shaun Bridgmohan and Midnight Lute after winning the Forego
The $250,000 Forego Stakes (G1) is one of the closing weekend features at Saratoga along with the Woodward (G1). A field of ten older sprinters contested the 7 furlong trip over the main track before an announced attendance of 19,973. Tom Fool winner High Finance was sent off as the 2-1 favorite, coming into the race off a 3 race winning streak. In to challenge the Rick Violette trainee were 5-2 second choice Midnight Lute, coming off a distant fourth place finish in the Commonwealth at Keeneland, and 7-1 third choice Simon Pure, third in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt last out. Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan rode Midnight Lute because regular rider Edgar Prado was injured in a spill after the running of the seventh race on the card.
Down the stretch with Midnight Lute out front
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 8 Midnight Lute Bridgmohan 7.20 4.60 3.70 4 Benny the Bull Guidry 8.80 5.80 7 Attila's Storm Bejarano 4.90 Winning Time: 1:21.06 $2 Exacta 8-4 59.00 $2 Trifecta 8-4-7 341.50 $2 Superfecta 8-4-7-5 6,880.00
Midnight Lute in the winner's circle with trainer Bob Baffert and his wife on the left. Baffert said, "That was great! This horse is very deserving of a Grade 1. He's been a great horse from Day 1. It has been unfortunate that he's had the breathing issues. I was glad to see him get away from there clean. He looked tremendous in the paddock, and he's been working fantastic. The gate crew did a great job with him. I told Shaun, 'If you get him away form the gate okay, you're going to have a fun ride.'"
Midnight Lute in the post parade. His jockey Shaun Bridgmohan (replacing Edgar Prado, who was injured while galloping out after the seventh race) said, "The Clerk of Scales told me that if Edgar didn't ride, Bob (Baffert) wanted me to ride. You don't have as much time to study the race. I just went out there and did what Bob asked me to do. The main thing was to get him away from the gate. He is such a big horse that he breaks a little sloppy. He had his ears pricked forward and was just enjoying himself. When I called on him, he dug in."
Midnight Lute returns after the race. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "When you win a Grade 1 at Saratoga, that's huge for a horse like him. I've been bragging about this horse. He was in my top 10, now he might be in my top 8. I don't think he's a (Breeders' Cup) Sprint horse. 3/4 might be too short for him. We're just going to absorb this and take it in. The main thing was that this horse needs to get away because he is so big. I've been waiting for a race like this. He needed to show off, and he did it at the right place - Saratoga. I've used Shaun once before and we won on Teton Forest. Shaun's a good rider. I felt bad about Edgar (Prado) getting hurt."
Second place finisher Benny the Bull in the post parade. His trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said, "He ran big. I really wasn't expecting that. That was a real nice race from him. The winner was very good." His jockey Mark Guidry said, "He ran his heart out. Dutrow had him in top form for this race. It seemed like Midnight Lute was too much to beat here. You can't discredit him for that."
Third place finisher Attila's Storm in the paddock before the race. 8-1 shot Attila's Storm contested the pace most of the way under jockey Rafael Bejarano but tired through the stretch, finishing third, 11 1/2 lengths back of the winner. The 5-year-old improved his career record to 5 wins, 4 seconds, and 4 thirds in 18 starts with earnings of $534,983 for owner Barry K. Schwartz and trainer Richard Schosberg.
Eighth place finisher and beaten favorite High Finance in the post parade. His trainer Rick Violette Jr. said, "He's supposed to be able to run 45 seconds on this race track. With these horses, that wasn't a stupid pace. He just had no fight. He didn't leave Attila's Storm. We'll take a good look at him and see if we can find a reason." His jockey John Velazquez said, "He got out there, but he didn't respond. The fractions were pretty moderate for him. I know he can go quicker. He can go 21 and 44, but he didn't have it."
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