DEL MAR, CA – WinStar Farm and Don Alberto Stable’s Battle of Midway emerged victorious from the epic stretch run with Sharp Azteca en route to taking Friday’s Grade 1, $1,000,000 Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Away cleanly from post 9 under Flavien Prat, Battle of Midway settled in mid-pack as Sharp Azteca shot to the lead and set fractions of :22.94, :46.95, and 1:11.13 while flanked to the outside by Gato Del Oro. Moving boldly near the end of the backstretch, Battle of Midway caught the pacesetter by the 1/4 pole. Off the far turn, the pair commenced a tremendous battle that lasted nearly the length of the drive before Battle of Midway put his head in front near the 1/16 pole. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained 3-year-old hit the line first by 1/2 a length in a final time of 1:35.20 for the mile-long main track event.
“I let him break and find position and was wide early,” Prat said. “I thought there would be more pace. Then, down the backside, he relaxed well and gave me a really good kick.”
The top pair finished 4 1/4 lengths past Awesome Slew, who took third by 1/2 a length over Practical Joke. Iron Fist, Giant Expectations, Gato Del Oro, Mor Spirit, Accelerate, and Cupid completed the order of finish.
The son of Smart Strike once again found success at Del Mar, having won the $100,000 Shared Belief here on August 26. The win improved his career record to 10-5-2-2 with earnings of $1,249,949.
“He’s a horse for the course,” Hollendorfer said. “He loves Del Mar. We had a lot of confidence in him coming into this race. This horse has always been a fighter and he showed that today. HE showed a lot of courage in winning this race.”
Battle of Midway returned $30.40 to win, $11.40 to place, and $6.60 to show. Sharp Azteca brought back $4.80 to place and $4 to show, while Awesome Slew paid $7 to show.