Alex Venneri Racing and Little Red Feather Racing’s Midnight Storm held off the late rush of the comebacking Om to win Sunday’s Grade 2 Del Mar Mile by a half length on the wire. The 5-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile covered the mile over Del Mar’s firm turf in 1:33.92 for jockey Rafael Bejarano, earning his third win in a row for trainer Phil D’Amato.
Hustled immediately to the lead by Bejarano, Midnight Storm crossed over to the rail in front of Om before the first turn, leaving his main rival to track his pace in the early going. Midnight Storm had some company on the outside from Ambitious Brew, but didn’t appear unsettled, marking the first quarter in :22.84. Bejarano got him to back off a bit for the second quarter, passing the half-mile mark in :46.66 while a length in front of Ambitious Brew. Ambitious Brew began to urge Midnight Storm onward approaching the far turn, moving up to his flank, but Bejarano had yet to ask the eventual winner.
Om had to wait until the top of the lane to find running room along Midnight Storm’s outside, though Bejarano did a commendable job convincing Gary Stevens that there would be no room along the inside rail for Om to have squeezed through. Carrying Om outward just a bit at the three-sixteenths pole, Midnight Storm battled on all the way down the stretch with just enough left in the tank to hold off Om by a half length at the wire.
Bred in Kentucky by Alex Venneri and Marjorie Post Dye, Midnight Storm began his three-race win streak with the G1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita in early June. He went on to win the G2 Eddie Read Stakes in his next and most recent start, and the Del Mar Mile marks the horse’s third in a row this year. Overall, Midnight Storm boasts a record of eight wins from 18 starts, with earnings of $ 1.1 million.
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