Midnight Storm strikes in Native Diver; Term of Art delivers in Cecil B. DeMille
The duo took the lead out of the gate and never looked back. Midnight Storm set splits of :23.89, :48.36, 1:13.53 and 1:38.95 en route to finishing 1 1/8 miles on Del Mar’s good dirt in 1:51.59.
The dark bay son of Pioneerof the Nile had 7 3/4 lengths to spare over Point Piper after drawing off in the stretch under a hand ride. Trained by Philip D’Amato, Midnight Storm paid $5.20 as the 8-5 favorite.
Point Piper just held for second, sticking his head in front of Hard Aces to fill the runner-up spot. Blue Tone followed in fourth by another 2 1/2 lengths and finishing the order under the wire were Pretentious, Imperative and Ebadan.
Midnight Storm now boasts a 20-9-3-1 career mark and $1,341,110 in lifetime earnings. Campaigned by A. Venneri Racing Inc. and Little Red Feather Racing, the five-year-old captured the Shoemaker Mile (G1), Eddie Read Stakes (G2) and Del Mar Mile Handicap (G2) in succession before his nice third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He also shows a win in the 2014 Del Mar Derby (G2) and last season’s Seabiscuit Handicap (G2).
Bred in Kentucky by Alex Venneri and Marjorie Post Dye, Midnight Storm was a $38,000 Keeneland September yearling RNA. He is out of the winning Bertrando mare My Tina, making him a half-brother to the dam of this year’s Delta Downs Princess (G3) third-placer Flatter Up.
Also at Del Mar on Sunday, Calumet Farm’s Term of Art posted a 1 1/4-length victory in the $100,690 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes. Originally scheduled to be run on the turf as a Grade 3, the one-mile affair lost its graded status – pending review by the American Graded Stakes Committee – when it was transferred to the dirt.
The surface switch didn’t stop Term of Art from collaring pacesetter Sword Fighter and going on to pass stretch-leader Vending Machine in the lane. With Joe Talamo aboard, the bay son of Tiznow had 1 1/4 lengths to spare over that latter runner on the good main track.
Term of Art, who actually has never run on grass, was sent off the 6-1 fifth choice in the seven-juvenile field and returned $15.80. Vending Machine had three parts of a length to spare on 8-5 favorite Sword Fighter while Curly’s Waterfront, Hootie, Popular Kid and Ky. Colonel followed the top three under the wire.
Term of Art took three tries to break his maiden, finally getting the job done on October 8 at Santa Anita Park for trainer Doug O’Neill. He failed to factor when ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last out but improved his career mark to 5-2-1-1, $111,105, with Sunday’s stakes win.
Bred in Kentucky by Whisper Hill Farm LLC, Term of Art sold to Calumet for $220,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. He is the first registered stakes winner out of the unraced Storm Cat mare Miles of Style, who is herself out of multiple Grade 1 queen Tomisue’s Delight.
Tomisue’s Delight, who also produced Grade 1 victor Mr. Sidney, is out of Broodmare of the Year Prospector’s Delite, making her a full sister to Horse of the Year and sire Mineshaft.
NATIVE DIVER QUOTES
Mike Smith, jockey Midnight Storm, winner
“(Trainer) Phil (D’Amato) didn’t tell me anything. He just said if he likes it (the off track), you’ll have some fun. He looked to be the only speed and I caught a flyer coming away from there. He was going so easy; I never moved my hands. He was looking around, so I knew he was happy. Then when I asked him to do some running, he did it. Very impressive.”
Phil D’Amato, trainer Midnight Storm, winner
“He did it the right way. Mike (Smith) got him to relax beautifully and at the three-eighths pole he just put the squeeze on him a little bit and (Midnight Storm) opened up on them. It’s important (graded stakes win on dirt) for a lot of reasons. At stud in the future and it gives us a lot more opportunities to look at for next year”
Mario Gutierrez, jockey Point Piper, second
“He made up some good ground late. It was a good try for him. But that winner – oh, man, he’s tough.”
Santiago Gonzalez, jockey Hard Aces, third
“Good try for him. Good race.”
CECIL B. DEMILLE QUOTES
Joe Talamo, jockey Term of Art, winner
“He’s growing up. The more this horse runs, the better he’s going to get. He’ll just improve as he goes along, as he matures. I was very impressed with him today. I think he’ll run on, too. He’ll run a mile and a quarter. He wasn’t blowing hard at all at the end of this today. The track is playing OK. It’s mostly fair. Maybe a little deep; I don’t think they’re going to be setting any track records today.”
Leandro Mora, assistant trainer Term of Art, winner
“The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (9th) was a lot of horses and it got a little tight coming out of the gate. He’s not a horse who can take dirt in his face. He’s got to be a little clear. But he came out of it sound and we decided to try him in this race on the grass. When the race was called off the grass, (trainer) Doug (O’Neill) called me and said ‘What do you think?’ I said I like it because it’s off the grass. It worked out well and he wasn’t even tired when he came back. We still have a lot more we can do with this horse.”
Norberto Arroyo Jr., jockey Vending Machine, second
“It was a good race for him. He tried hard. He handled the track well and he ran good. We just got beat.”
Santiago Gonzalez, jockey Sword Fighter, third
“Good race for him. The track was no problem.”
Midnight Storm and Term of Art photos courtesy of Benoit Photos