VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Betting Tools

Midnight Hawk wins Sham at Santa Anita

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - Midnight Hawk battled Kristo around the track before taking the lead coming out of the stretch in a 1 3/4-length victory Saturday in the $100,000 Sham Stakes, an early prep on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

The 3-year-old gray colt is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and co-owned by Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and newly hired Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice, who was on hand at Santa Anita.

''Anytime you win it's exciting in anything, tiddlywinks, horse racing, football,'' Tice said. ''We're loving every minute of it.''

Midnight Hawk ran a mile in 1:36.48 and paid $2.80 and $2.10 as the 2-5 favorite in the field of four that was reduced by the scratches of Life Is a Joy and Top Fortitute. Midnight Hawk earned 10 points in the system used by Churchill Downs to decide the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 3.

Kristo returned $2.20, while Ontology was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third. There was no show wagering.

''The winner was much too fast,'' said Rafael Bejarano, who rode Kristo. ''He lost ground on both turns and still beat me.''

Midnight Hawk easily won his debut by 6 1/4 lengths last month at now-closed Betfair Hollywood Park. But Baffert made an adjustment for the colt's second start, removing the blinkers he'd worn to keep focused.

''He's still a little green, but I liked him a lot better without the blinkers,'' he said.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and Midnight Hawk dueled with Bejarano and Kristo, who sped to the early lead. Midnight Hawk took a short lead on the backstretch before Kristo put a head back in front into the second turn. Midnight Lute regained the lead into the stretch and Kristo fought back.

Midnight Hawk inched away approaching midstretch and drifted in toward the rail as Smith switched to a left-handed whip.

''It kind of turned into a match race,'' Smith said. ''More so than winning I wanted to find out if he could go long. If you can't go long, there's no use worrying about anything else. He proved he could go long.''

Like Baffert, Smith sees improvements that Midnight Hawk could make. The crowd noise startled the colt into changing paths to the rail deep in the stretch.

''He thinks they're yelling right at him and gets scared,'' the jockey said. ''If he couldn't see them today (with the blinkers), it would be even worse.''

Baffert said he'd consider stuffing cotton into Midnight Hawk's ears to stifle the sound.

Typical of this time of year, Baffert was noncommittal about future plans for Midnight Hawk, whose sire Midnight Lute was a two-time Breeders' Cup Sprint winner who was named for retired Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson.

''We'll let him tell us when he's ready to roll,'' Baffert said. ''He's a big, heavy horse, and he can handle a lot. He's so heavy, I'd rather run him than work him. So far, so good, but we'll just take baby steps as we go and just have fun with him.''

Midnight Hawk was bred in Kentucky by longtime Baffert client Mike Pegram, who recruited Quenneville and Tice as minority owners along with John Sikura's Hill `n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc., and Mike Kitchen.

Noting the NFL and NHL coaches in the group, Baffert said, laughing, ''Not one of them has tried to tell me how to train the horse. That's a good thing.''

Tice added, ''He's being polite. I can't help myself.''

Quenneville and his Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks were in Montreal on Saturday night for a game, but he had planned to watch the race. When Midnight Hawk won in December, Quenneville was also north of the border.

''I said, `Every race you got to go to Canada,''' Tice said. ''He said, `That's OK, I'm from Canada.'''

Tice, the former Minnesota Vikings head coach and Chicago Bears assistant, was hired last week by the Falcons after being out of the game this season. In August, he correctly picked the winner of six straight races at Del Mar and won $100,796 on a $128 ticket.

''I had my year off, hit my Pick Six, went to the Breeders' Cup, back to work,'' he said.

Kory Owens, who trains Top Fortitude, said he scratched the colt because of a readjustment on a back shoe earlier Saturday.

In the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes, 2-1 favorite Blueskiesnrainbows won by 1 1/4 lengths under Martin Pedroza.

The winner ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.17 and paid $6.20, $4.20 and $2.80.

Majestic Harbor returned $15.20 and $5.20. Drill, trained by Baffert and ridden by Smith, won a photo for third and paid $3.20 to show.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

News: 2018 Preakness Stakes Results
Track, fatigue to test Justify at Belmont
Justify wins Preakness Stakes
Good Magic has fast start, tough ending
Preakness may ultimately land at Laurel
Justify hopes to shine at wet Preakness
Red Ruby captures Black-Eyed Susan
Preakness looks like Justify's race to lose
Good Magic, Quip are top challengers
Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

Join Mike daily with top picks from Belmont Park or grab winners in the Weekend Best Plays Report in the horse racing Multi-Track package. Want more action? Sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
Jerry opened the 2016 Triple Crown season by hitting his Derby Day best bet, Nyquist. He also nailed the Derby exacta for a $30.60 payout. On 4/16/16 at Keeneland, Jerry hit an $819 exacta that led to a $38k Trifecta & a $300k Super.

In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

Join Jerry daily with picks from Belmont, Churchill Downs and Santa Anita or choose a package that contains selections from Multiple Tracks for the LOW PRICE of $19.95! Or better yet, how about 30 Days of horse racing picks with his Monthly Racing Package for ONLY $99.95!
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership