Midnight Storm Holds Off All Comers in the Eddie Read

July 20, 2016 06:40am
Midnight Storrm Eddie Read 615 X 400
Photo: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire

Midnight Storm ran his way to the top of the West Coast turf division with another gutsy wire to wire win today in the $250,000 Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IIT) at Del Mar.

This is getting to be familiar territory for this five-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile. Last time out he held on stubbornly to win the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) in wire to wire fashion avenging his loss in the same race the year before. In today’s Eddie Read Stakes, he avenged his only loss on the Del Mar turf course from a year ago, the Eddie Read, with another gutsy win by holding off several others the length of the Del Mar stretch.

Off cleanly from post position five as the 8-5 favorite, Midnight Storm and jockey Rafael Bejarano went straight for the lead, and as the field passed the stands for the first time, it was Midnight Storm with a half-length lead over Bolo. Three lengths back in third it was Si Sage and Ashleyluvssugar another length back in fourth. Through an opening quarter in 23.82 and a half mile in 48.03, Midnight Storm continued on with his long strides as Bolo clung to his outside still only a half-length back. Si Sage and Ashleyluvssurgar maintained their positions in third and fourth, while 9-2 second choice Flamboyant was sixth, about seven lengths back.

As Midnight Storm rounded the turn, the field started to close in. Bolo started to retreat as Midnight Storm led the into the stretch. It briefly looked like he would be passed, first by Si Sage on the rail, and then by Ashleyluvssugar and Flamboyant on his outside. Give credit to the Phil D'Amato trainer runner though, Midnight Storm found another gear and was never headed, he held off all three challengers in the stretch to win the race by a half-length in a final time of 1:47.88 for nine furlongs.

Winning the race for second was Ashleyluvssugar who had a neck on Flamboyant, who was third. Si Sage was another head back in fourth. For Midnight Storm, this was his second straight graded stakes win and now holds the distinction as the West Coast's top middle distance grass horse based off of his last two wins. Not bad for a horse who was very close to being scratched from the race earlier this morning.

Trainer Phil D'Amato mentioned after the race that he almost scratched Midnight Storm early this morning due to what they thought was a turf course that may be playing too soft for his charge who clearly likes it firm. After thinking it over, they kept him in the race, and instructed jockey Rafael Bejarano to stay off of the rail and be on the three or four path. They made the correct decision.

As for the running of the race, and the trip his horse had, Phil D'Amato commented after saying, “Rafael Bejarano saved just enough. Bolo was all over him, he wasn’t getting any easy breathers. The reason I ran him in here is he came out of the last race (Shoemaker Mile win) like he hadn’t even run. His confidence is just sky high right now. When he gets good he gets really good and he’s just coming into his own.” Thinking ahead for Midnight Storm’s next race he said, “If he comes out of this race like he came out of his last one, maybe the Del Mar Mile (Grade II, $200,000, August 21), but we’ll see what he tells us.”

Midnight Storm returned $5.40, $3.40 and $2.60. Runner-up Ashleyluvssugar paid $5.60 and $3.40, while Flamboyant paid $3.40 to show. Owned by A Venneri Racing, Inc. and Little Red Feather Racing, Midnight Storm scored his seventh win from 17 career starts. With the $150,000 winner’s share, his bankroll is now $981,110.

Midnight Storm was bred in Kentucky by Alex Venneri and Marjorie Post Dye out of the Bertrando mare My Tina, Midnight Storm was a $38,000 RNA at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale when consigned by Vinery Sales.


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Chip Gehrke has been with Horse Racing Nation since 2015 and currently serves as a Featured Writer. Based outside of Chicago, Chip can be found in the press box many weekends during the Arlington Park meet. The On The Air With Dr. Derby name originates from his local sports radio show appearances as an on-air racing expert. Now also a weekly contributor on FOX Sports radio's "The Fast Track," Chip can be heard giving his thoughts on the racing world every weekend.

In 2017, Chip was chosen to be a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association. As a part of the NTWAB, Chip became a voter for the year-end Eclipse Awards, something he takes very seriously. Some of Chip's favorite writings from the last couple of years is the best way to get to know him, along with following him on Twitter at @doctorderby.

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