Midnight Storm wires Del Mar Mile
The Phil D’Amato-trained five-year-old was sent off the heavy 2-5 favorite following a pair of scores in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) and Eddie Read Stakes (G2) in his past two. Just like in those events, Midnight Storm took command from the start and never relinquished the advantage while setting splits of :22.82, :46.66, 1:10.64 and 1:22.30.
And just like those two, the dark bay son of Pioneerof the Nile found himself challenged in the stretch. Om came on with his own run in the lane but Midnight Storm would not back down, holding to finish a half-length in front of that rival while completing a mile over Del Mar’s firm turf in 1:33.92.
Om was game in defeat and easily best of the rest while 4 1/4 lengths clear of third-placer Ohio, who just got up to deny Ambitious Brew the show spot by a neck. Little Curlin brought up the rear throughout.
Midnight Storm paid $2.60 for the win, which improved his career record to read 18-8-3-0. It also pushed the Kentucky-bred into the millionaire’s club, as he has now banked $1,101,110 lifetime.
In addition to the Shoemaker Mile and Eddie Read, Midnight Storm previously captured the Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) and Del Mar Derby (G2). He also ran second in the 2015 Shoemaker Mile by just a half-length.
Midnight Storm, a $38,000 RNA at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, was bred by Alex Venneri and Marjorie Post Dye. He is out of the winning Bertrando mare My Tina, who is a half-sister to Grade 3-placed multiple stakes heroine Ask Shananie, stakes victor Valid Direction and dual stakes-placed Bid N Ask.
Midnight Storm photo courtesy of Benoit Photos
DEL MAR MILE QUOTES
Rafael Bejarano, jockey Midnight Storm, winner: “I had to use him a little bit to start. I knew the 5 (Ambitious Brew) and the 1 (Om) had some speed and I didn’t want them to get a jump on me. My horse has natural speed, but I asked him for a little more to start. He’s a good horse and he showed it today.”
Phil D’Amato, trainer Midnight Storm, winner: ”I felt he had it under control the whole way, but I was kind of surprised to see that big kick Om had in the stretch and it got pretty close for a while. (Rafael Bejarano) said he rode him confidently there at the end. We’ll definitely give him some time off now and then get him ready for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).”
Gary Stevens, jockey Om, second: “Heck of a good race for him off that layoff (more than five months). (Trainer) Dan (Hendricks) and his crew had him ready. I would have liked to have gotten out sooner. My horse has a really good three-eighths mile run in him and I had to wait and spot one of the best turf milers in the country a pretty good edge. But this race was big; he’ll get better off it.”
Brice Blanc, jockey Ohio, third: “A good race for him. He’s improving each time he runs. Those first two horses in here are really good ones. But my horse is just getting better.”