ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2017)–Left to his own devices on the front end of Saturday’s Grade I, $100,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita, Brice Blanc slowed the pace down aboard 22-1 longshot Midnight Crossing and came away with a hard-fought half length victory over 8-5 favorite Elysea’s World. In her first start for trainer Richard Baltas, Irish-bred Midnight Crossing got a mile and one eighth on turf in 1:48.10.
Previously based at Woodbine Racecourse in Toronto, Midnight Crossing, a 4-year-old filly by Dark Angel, had made her seven previous starts for Canadian trainer Roger Attfield, but was purchased privately following her most recent start at Woodbine on Nov. 3 and sent to Baltas, who, coincidentally, took last year’s Frankel with Goodyearforroses, who had also been shipped west from Woodbine.
In a short field of six, Blanc allowed his mount to get her bearings and make an easy lead into the first turn with Gliding By, Responsibleforlove and Laseen in close attendance. However, Blanc was allowed to cruise through splits of 24.27, 48.94, 1:12.90 and 1:36.36 and was thus able to open up a length and a half advantage turning for home and was all out to hold off the favorite late.
In her 18th career start, Midnight Crossing registered her first stakes win and paid $47.60, $12.80 and $5.00.
Owned by Abbondanza Racing, LLC and Medallion Racing, Midnight Crossing picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $131,377. Her overall mark now stands at 18-3-2-1.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Elysea’s World swung four-wide from off the pace turning for home, but came up a half length short at the wire. Trained by Chad Brown, she paid $3.60 and $2.40.
Irish-bred Laseen, full of run at the rail while third going into the far turn, finally got out a sixteenth of a mile from home but couldn’t quicken enough to threaten for the win, finishing a neck behind Elysea’s World.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Laseen was off at 9-1 and paid $3.60 to show.