MIdcourt makes Native Diver 4th straight win; Roadster runs last

November 23, 2019 07:27pm
MIdcourt makes Native Diver 4th straight win; Roadster runs last
Photo: Benoit Photo

Midcourt continued his hot streak Saturday for trainer John Shirreffs, wiring the Grade 3, $100,000 Native Diver at Del Mar.

The win was a fourth straight for Midcourt, a 4-year-old Midnight Lute gelding, and came in his first try in a graded stakes race. He entered off a neck win over Two Thirty Five – one of the three rivals he faced Saturday – in the black-type Comma to the Top Stakes on Oct. 27 at Santa Anita Park.

There was no such close finish Saturday for Midcourt. He broke from the No. 2 post and went to the front, setting fractions of :23.55, :47.61 and 1:11.54.

Jockey Victor Espinoza pushed the button on Midcourt through the far turn of the 1 1/8-mile dirt feature. The C R K Stable runner drew away from there, then cruised home to score by five lengths over runner-up Extra Hope for a win that returned $7.60.

“It wasn’t the way I expected," Shirreffs said. "I didn’t think they’d take off that soon and go to the lead. But Victor rode him great and he wanted to run today.

"He’s been training well but there’s always a step up they have to take in the afternoons. You hope there’s a realization then. He’s doing really well right now so we’ll go on to Santa Anita and see what we can do.”

Next up for Midcourt could be the 1 1/16-mile San Antonio Stakes (G2), which has run the last two years on Dec. 26.

Two Thirty Five came home third Saturday ahead of last-place Roadster, who went off the 4-5 favorite.

The Native Diver marked a fourth-straight winless effort for Roadster since his Santa Anita Derby (G1) win April 6. Since then, the Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-old was 15
th on May 4 in the Kentucky Derby, second June 16 in Santa Anita’s Affirmed Stakes (G3) and, after a layoff, second Nov. 2 in Santa Anita’s black-type Damascus Stakes.


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