BATTLE OF MIDWAY TRADES PUNCHES WITH FAVORED MCKINZIE & EMERGES A HALF LENGTH WINNER IN GRADE II, $200,000 SAN PASQUAL STAKES; RIDDEN BY PRAT & TRAINED BY HOLLENDORFER, HE GETS 1 1/8 MILES IN 1:46.95
RAINY CONDITIONS CONTRIBUTE TO 15 SCRATCHES IN THE RAINBOW SIX WHICH PRODUCES 18,764 WINNING TICKETS
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2019)–With Battle of Midway applying serious pressure early and late to favored McKinzie , Battle of Midway, with Flavien Prat up, emerged a half length victor in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita.Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Battle of Midway, a 5-year-old son of Smart Strike, got a mile and one eighth over a sloppy track in 1:46.95.
In-hand early while ever attendant to McKinzie to his immediate inside, Battle of Midway was cruising in third position heading to the far turn as longshot Giant Expectations showed the way. Three abreast turning for home, the San Pasqual boiled down to the top two a furlong out, and although Battle of Midway drifted out some in the late stages, he finally wrested control from McKinzie and Mike Smith in the final 30 yards.
“I think the key was being outside,” said Prat, who has now ridden Battle of Midway a total of 13 times, including his last 12 in a row. “The draw was very important. I don’t think either horse likes to get pressure inside and I was able to stay just outside of McKinzie the whole way. My horse likes to play around a little when he makes the lead, but he still finished good.”
Most recently second as the favorite in the Grade II San Antonio Stakes going 1 1/16 miles here on Dec. 26, Battle of Midway was off as the second choice in a field of five older horses at 2-1 and paid $6.80, $2.60 and $2.10.
“We were kind of undecided (about) what the speed was going to be,” said Hollendorfer. “I thought Bob (Baffert) would send (McKinzie), but he didn’t do that, so that kept us wide into the first turn, which was a good strategy for them…I thought Prat rode a great race. The other horse fought back, but we got lucky in the last couple jumps.”
Owned by Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm, LLC, Battle of Midway, who is out of the Concerto mare Rigoletta, made his sixth start today following his victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in 2017, after which he went on to a failed tour of duty at stud.
In what has developed into a remarkable career, Battle of Midway is now six-time stakes winner and is 16-8-4-2 overall. With the winner’s share today of $120,000, he now has earnings of $1,589,049.
McKinzie, who came off a sensational 4 ¾ length win here in the Grade I, seven furlong Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, fought gallantly to finish second, 4 ¼ lengths in front of Giant Expectations. Off at 1-2, he paid $2.10 and $2.10.
“I broke in front of him (Battle of Midway), but if I had it to do over again, I would’ve taken my horse back,” said Smith.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Giant Expectations was third-best, finishing 5 ½ lengths clear of Pavel. Off at 9-1, Giant Expectations paid $2.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 22.86, 46.09 and 1:09.33.
With a mandatory payout on the line in today’s 20 cent Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot, $5,198,742 in “new” money was wagered, making for a total live money pool of $6,790,951. Due primarily to heavy rains overnight and into this afternoon, there were a total of 11 program scratches in the Rainbow Six sequence, which helped to produce 18,764 winning tickets. Each paid $296.30.
Racing will resume with a nine-race card on Big Game Sunday with special early first post time at 11 a.m.