Photo: Benoit Photo
Bob Baffert seeks his third win in just 13 runnings of the Sham Stakes Saturday when he sends out Midnight Hawk
in the Grade III race for 3-year-olds at one mile.
Midnight Hawk was an impressive maiden winner by 6 ¼ lengths first out on Hollywood Park’s synthetic Cushion Track, winning at the uncommon distance of 7 ½ furlongs on Dec. 13.
Is the move to traditional dirt in the Sham a concern?
“Not at all,” Baffert said of Midnight Hawk, the 8-5 morning line favorite who will run without blinkers in the Sham. “He’s just real speedy. He wants to take the lead.
“I worked him the other day and he didn’t want to sit behind horses. Pace is going to be important in this race, and we’ll find out if he can go that far. We don’t know yet.”
A son of 2007 and 2008 Breeders’ Cup Sprint king Midnight Lute, Midnight Hawk is owned in part by John Sikura of Lexington, who races as Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc., along with Mike Kitchen, Mike Pegram and former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice and Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.
The field for the Sham, race five of nine: Kristo, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1; I’ll Wrap It Up, Tyler Baze, 8-1; Life Is a Joy, Corey Nakatani, 12-1; Ontology, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Top Fortitude, Kayla Stra, 2-1; and Midnight Hawk, Mike Smith, 8-5.