Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Odds-on favorite Midnight Hawk shook loose down the stretch on his way to winning Saturday's $100,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, both Hall of Famers, Midnight Hawk dueled with Kristo on the lead in the mile stakes. Chasing the leaders were Ontology and I'll Wrap It Up. The field was reduced to four after Top Fortitude and Life Is a Joy were both scratched.
Midnight Hawk, co-owned by Mike Pegram, took the lead for good on the far turn and extended his advantage at the top of stretch. The gray colt, sent off as the 2-5 favorite, drove to the finish and posted a 1 3/4-length victory over Kristo. Ontology was third with I'll Wrap It Up finishing fourth.
"It kind of turned into a match race today," Smith observed. "Today, 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."
The time for the Sham Stakes on a fast track was 1:36.48.
Making just his second career start, Midnight Hawk earned $60,000 with the win and 10 Kentucky Derby points. The colt broke his maiden at Hollywood Park on Dec. 13 and has now banked $87,000.
"He's a big, heavy horse, and he can handle a lot. He's so heavy, I'd rather run him than work him," noted Baffert. "So far, so good, but we'll just take baby steps as we go and just have fun with him."
Midnight Hawk returned $2.80 and $2.10, and Kristo paid $2.20. There was no show wagering.