Battle Of Midway Scores At Even Money In Comma To The Top

Well beaten in New York going a one-turn mile on Sept. 22, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway returned to Santa Anita and was completely dominant in winning Sunday’s $75,000 Comma to the Top Stakes by 4 ½ lengths under regular rider Flavien Prat. Conditioned by Jerry Hollendorfer, the 4-year-old Smart Strike colt, who was making his third start following a failed tour of duty at stud, got a flat mile in 1:36.87.

“The key today was getting him back to two turns,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward, in reference to his fifth place finish in Belmont Park’s Grade II Kelso Handicap. “From here, Jerry would like to go next in the Native Diver (Grade III, 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 25 at Del Mar), the San Antonio (Grade II, 1 1/16 miles here on Dec. 26) and if all goes well, the Pegasus (World Cup Invitational, going 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26).”

Hustled from his outside post position, Battle of Midway was caught three-wide outside pacesetters St. Joe Bay and All Out Blitz, got on terms with that pair midway around the far turn and asserted his superiority leaving the quarter pole in a powerful effort.

Off at even money in a field of six 3-year-olds and up, Battle of Midway, who is out of the Concerto mare Rigoletta, paid $4.20, $2.80 and $2.40.

“He’s got a lot of natural speed and he settled very nice,” said Prat. “He’s a very classy horse and the two turns probably helped him today.”

Owned by Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm, LLC, Battle of Midway notched his fourth stakes victory and improved his overall resume to 13-6-3-2. With the winner’s share of $47,100, he increased his earnings to $1,349,049.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, All Out Blitz was off at 31-1 and paid $13.20 and $6.60 while finishing a half length in front of St. Joe Bay.

St. Joe Bay, ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, was off at 6-1 and paid $3.60 to show.

Fractions on the race were 23.23, 46.70 1:11.10 and 1:23.77.

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