Battle of Midway and jockey Flavien Prat win the $ 100,000 Shared Belief Stakes, Saturday, August 26, 2017 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA.© BENOIT PHOTO
Third in the Kentucky Derby back in May, WinStar Farm and Don Alberto Stable’s Battle of Midway rebounded from a sixth-place finish in the Haskell to win Saturday’s $ 100,000 Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar. The 3-year-old son of Smart Strike, ridden by Flavien Prat, galloped to an open-lengths victory following the addition of blinkers to his race-day equipment. He covered a mile over the fast main track in 1:35.94 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
“Much better today,” Prat said. “The blinkers had to help. He seemed much more focused. He did just what I asked him to do. He’s a good horse. We know that. He ran third in the (Kentucky) Derby. You know he’s a good horse.”
Battle of Midway was three-wide nearly the entire trip, but never worse than two lengths off the leaders. Prat kept him in third position behind Cistron and Gato del Oro, tracking fractions of :22.44 and :45.96 from the center of the track. Gormley was moving well at the rail behind the leading trio, followed by Klimt and Stone Hands.
Gato del Oro worked hard to keep the pace honest down the backstretch, then drew even with Cistron around the far turn. Battle of Midway jumped forward nearing the quarter pole to challenge Gato del Oro, and a tap on the shoulder at the head of the lane had Battle of Midway galloping away from his rival with ease.
At the wire, Battle of Midway was at least four lengths in front of Gato del Oro. Klimt got up to be third over Gormley.
“There was some speed in the race, we’ve worked him behind horses so he had a target to run at,” said Hollendorfer’s assistant Dan Ward. “And with the blinkers he seemed to go on rather than waiting on horses. It doesn’t always work out the way you want, but this time it did. I listened to the Jim Rome (owner of Shared Belief) radio show this morning and he talked about the memories. I texted him and told him I was going to wear the (blue and white) colors.”
Bred in Kentucky by Thor-Bred Stables, Battle of Midway was purchased for $ 410,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling sale by Fox Hill Farm. The colt began his career in Rick Porter’s colors, but after he finished second in the G1 Santa Anita Derby he was purchased privately by Don Alberto and WinStar. Remaining under Hollendorfer’s care, Battle of Midway ran third in the Kentucky Derby, then won the G3 Affirmed Stakes in his next start. Overall, the colt’s record stands at four wins from eight starts with earnings of approximately $ 640,000.
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