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Zipse At The Track

Midnight Interlude is a Strong New Shooter

Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 27

The 2011 Kentucky Derby is now officially wide open. The champ has been beaten. Other highly regarded prospects have left the trail with physical setbacks. Still others have turned in uninspiring performances. To say you know which horse will wear the roses in 27 days is an admission of overconfidence. With the fragility of the favorites on full display comes renewed hope for horses that no one knew much about just a short time ago. Horses who are developing quickly and suddenly putting everything together. One such colt stepped up in a big way yesterday evening, as Midnight Interlude jumped from a maiden winner to a Grade 1 victor in less than one minute and fifty seconds.

Midnight Interlude galloped into the Kentucky Derby picture by snatching the $1 million Santa Anita Derby over a game front runner, Comma to the Top. In the process, he earned Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his sixth winner in the prestigious Derby prep. Under jockey Victor Espinoza, Midnight Interlude, a son of War Chant rallied down the middle of the track to get up in the final few strides by a neck. Final time on the fast Santa Anita Park strip was 1:48.66. The win was even more impressive than the neck margin when you consider the runner-up impeded Midnight Interlude down the stretch, but the young horse, making only his fourth lifetime start, was able to regain his stride and power past his competitor for the win. The two finished more than two lengths clear of third place finisher, Mr. Commons, while race favorite Silver Medallion checked in fourth.

[See the Santa Anita Derby replay now on HRN's 2011 Kentucky Derby Trail Replay Wall]

Midnight Interlude is a Kentucky bred, bay owned by Arnold Zetcher. Zetcher also bred the colt, and is now dreaming of Louisville with the horse who had only broken his maiden three weeks before.

“I hadn’t even thought about it until this moment,” Zetcher said after Midnight Interlude’s Santa Anita Derby win. “But it’s a lifelong dream.”

The job for Midnight Interlude became easier with the defections of the two favorites during the week, in Premier Pegasus, who will be out four months with a hairline fracture, and then Jaycito, who was not fully recovered from a hoof bruise. Baffert did mention that Jaycito, whom he also trains, will now be pointed for Keeneland’s Coolmore Lexington Stakes. But no mistake, this was an impressive win for the up and coming Midnight Interlude, and in a year where everyone has taken missteps, he might be the kind of horse to look out for on the first Saturday in May.

Although two of his three Kentucky Derby winners ran in the Santa Anita Derby, none of Baffert’s previous five Santa Anita Derby winners went on to win in Louisville, but three of them went on to finish in the money, and one (Point Given) became a Preakness and Belmont champion.



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Older Comments about Midnight Interlude is a Strong New Shooter...

Again LDP19- I agree. Too lightly raced to chance the Derby.
Midnight Interlude showed maturity beyond his experience when he made his run down the stretch. To get around Comma to the Top after checking sharply and go on for the win was very impressive. Comma to the Top was really game, great effort from him but he needs to start running straight when they enter the homestretch!
Not on his bandwagon but comparing his opponents to nothing is silly G1-G2-G3 winners in this race. It was very impressive effort from a maiden graduate to G1 winner. CTTP is a favorite of mine as well :O
Let's not jump on his bandwagon, he beat nothing. Every week some there's an upset and everyone jumps on the bandwagon of the new hot horse. My favorites: The Factor, Dial Again and yes I still like Uncle Mo, I think Pletcher needs to crank up his trainining, you can't baby a horse and expect him to beat better competition.
No, R Heat Lightning (2 for 3 this year) is not nominated to the Triple Crown ... she could be, but the chances of her being supplemented are extremely slim in my opinion.
I have a question? this does not pretain to midnight interlude. but I am fairly new to writing anything on this site. Has R Heat Lightning been nominated for the derby? And if she isn"t can she? the reason I ask is that other than the factor. she is more consistant than any of the other 3 y.o.'s this year.
Well it is the Derby and while the verdict remains out on the SA strip...who knows now that Mo went down!
I think he will go, and if anyone can have him ready for May 7 ... it is Mr. Bob Baffert.
I would not do the Derby with. Baffert is one heck of a trainer, who could probably have him ready, but for a horse that is just putting things together I would bipass the Derby for the Preakness a summer campaign.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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