Reprinted from Bloodhorse
Free of trouble and with an ideal stalking trip, Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm’s Battle of Midway thrived by the beach at Del Mar in the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes Aug. 26.
As Cistron sped away from the gate to set a hot pace with race favorite Gato Del Oro not far off, Battle of Midway relaxed in third under a confident ride by jockey Flavien Prat. He breezed by the leading pair in the final turn, and cruised to the wire to win by 6 1/4 lengths in his first start with blinkers.
“Much better today,” Prat said in reference to his rough, sixth-place finish in the July 30 Betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1). “The blinkers had to help. He seemed much more focused. He did just what I asked him to do. He’s a good horse.”
Jockey Tyler Baze ensured a quick pace as he asked Cistron to run as soon as they left the gate, and the fractions through a half-mile went in :22.44 and :45.96. Gato Del Oro, the 9-5 favorite, inherited the lead when Cistron tired harshly in the final turn, but it was short-lived.
“Good trip for me and no excuses,” said Gato Del Oro’s jockey, Rafael Bejarano. “The winner was just much the best today.”
Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Battle of Midway took over soon after, covered six furlongs in 1:10.46, and pulled away steadily in the stretch to finish off the mile in 1:35.94. Gato Del Oro was clearly second best and finished 4 1/4 lengths in front of Klimt, who edged fellow grade 1 winner Gormley by a half-length. Stone Hands and Cistron completed the order of finish.
“There was some speed in the race, (and) we’ve worked him behind horses, so he had a target to run at,” said Hollendorfer 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.”
Battle of Midway, who finished third at 40-1 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), now has a 4-1-2 record from eight starts and $620,000 in earnings. The Smart Strike colt was a $410,000 purchase by Fox Hill Farm out of the Gainesway Farm consignment at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale and was privately purchased by WinStar and Don Alberto in April.
In other news, Lynwood Graduate Eagle finished 2nd in the Philip H. Iselin S. (G3) at Monmouth