ARCADIA, CA – Norman Stables’ Silent Bird eked out victory following an eventful stretch run in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Midnight Lute Stakes at Santa Anita.
Off slowly from the rail, jockey Kent Desormeaux had to give Silent Bird encouragement in order to battle for the early lead inside of Americanize and Tough Sunday, with the trio heads apart through opening fractions of :22.18 and :44.75. Off the far turn, Silent Bird angled off of the rail and appeared to open up a lane for Calculator, who had set a stalking trip just behind him and seemed ready to run. However, Desormeaux steered Silent Bird back down to the rail before his foe could capitalize on the opportunity, which might have been enough to slow any momentum that the big gray Calculator had built up. Steadied and ready, the Mark Glatt-trained Silent Bird dug in to hit the wire first by a neck in a final time of 1:16.03 for the 6 1/2-furlong main track event.
“We put the blinkers on and that certainly put a little more speed on him,” Glatt said. “It was a typical one-hole draw. He doesn’t like dirt in his face, so I told Kent, ‘Whatever you do, let’s try, with the rail draw, to get to the outside.’ When he broke a little flat, Kent kind of asked him to run, and then he jumped into the bit, so at that point, he figured to just keep his position and he kept it all the way.”
The hearing- and sight-impaired Tough Sunday (whose journey to the track has captured thousands of social media fans) won the photo for second by a nose over Americanize. Unable to re-rally in the stretch, Calculator had to settle for fourth ahead of Solid Wager, Ike Walker, and Ohio to complete the order of finish. Masochistic and Smokey Image were scratched.
Silent Bird’s win, his first in a graded stakes race, improved his record to 9-6-1-1 with earnings of $316,800. The 5-year-old is the son of Summer Bird, whom Desormeaux rode to victory in the 2009 Belmont, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes races.
“Well, I’ll tell you, full credit goes to Mark Glatt for this win,” Desormeaux said. “Mark said to be careful out of the gate and that he could be sluggish and he was right. I had to ride him hard for a good 100 yards out of there. I asked my Summer Bird progeny, my Triple Crown-race winning baby, for all he had, and he gave it. For him to look like Summer Bird, feel like him, and go like him, it’s amazing. I have incredibly fond memories, and this brings it all back.”
Silent Bird returned $8.20 to win, $4.60 to place, and $2.80 to show. Tough Sunday brought back $10.20 to place and $4.40 to show, while Americanize paid $2.20 to show.