Midnight Storm Game in Winning Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile

June 06, 2016 05:59am
Midnight Storm Shoemaker 615 X 400
Photo: Zoe Metz

In 2015, Midnight Storm lost the lead late in the Shoemaker Mile (Gr. 1) losing by a half-length. In this year’s renewal, the 5-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile persevered while leading throughout, and gamely held on to win by a half-length.

Breaking cleanly from the start, jockey Rafael Bejarano guided his horse from the outside post number 6 to the lead as the compact field passed the stands the first time. Heart to Heart also away cleanly, raced to the inside of Midnight Storm but angled to the outside, heading into the first turn once Midnight Storm cleared him. Through an opening quarter in 22.68, and a half in 46:00, Midnight Storm kept a one length lead. Moving into the far turn, Heart to Heart turned up the pressure and moved to the flank of Midnight Storm and appeared to be primed to make a run for the lead around the turn for home, but Tourist was also making up ground from third. In the stretch, Heart to Heart couldn’t keep up, leaving Tourist to challenge Midnight Storm in a battle the last eighth of a mile. Never letting Tourist get closer than a neck, Midnight Storm crossed the wire a half-length in front.

Tourist ran gamely in defeat to be second, four lengths clear of Twentytwentyvision who finished third. The Phil D'Amato trained Midnight Storm started the year out with a fourth place finish in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (Gr. 1) and then finished seventh in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (Gr. 1). He talked about those races saying “He was a little bit unlucky in that he hit two soft turf courses, and he doesn’t like it soft.”

When Midnight Storm shot off to that fast opening quarter, Phil D'Amato wasn’t too concerned with the fast early fractions saying, “He had his ears up the whole time. If he had his ears pinned back and he looked like he was going full speed, I would have been concerned”. Jockey Rafael Bejarano explained why he went straight to the lead saying “I knew Heart to Heart was going to try for the lead and if I let him get to the lead, he’d control it. My horse is tough to control and I don’t want to fight with him, so I let him run a little bit into the first turn. After that I tried to get set up, tried to get him relaxed and I had a lot of horse. I had plenty of horse and he just took off.”

Owned by A Venneri Racing, Inc., and Little Red Feather Racing, Midnight Storm won for the 6th time in 16 starts and now sports a 16-6-3-0 record with earnings of $831,110.


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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.

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