Midnight Lucky conquers Sunland Oaks in record-setting
Midnight Lucky didn’t need any luck, or much encouragement from jockey Rafael
Bejarano either, as she romped by eight lengths in Sunday’s $200,000
Sunland Park Oaks.
Trained by Bob Baffert, the gray miss was making her stakes and
two-turn debut in the 1 1/16-mile contest and easily proved capable of handling
such a task when setting a new Sunland Park track record of 1:41.06 over the
Midnight Lucky, who also romped by 7 1/4 length in her career bow on February
16 at Santa Anita, sped to the front when the gates opened but found company in
the form of Majestic River to her inside. Bejarano allowed his filly to settle
in a pressing spot as Majestic River set a blistering opening quarter in an
initially reported :21 before slowing it down for the half in :46 2/5.
Canticle had ranged up to Midnight Lucky’s throatlatch by this point and
Unusual Way was putting in a game run down on the rail to Majestic River’s
inside. Midnight Lucky easily repelled Canticle while moving up to take command
as the leader began fading through six furlongs in 1:09 4/5.
Unusual Way abandoned the inside and angled out under jockey Edwin Maldonado
to put in her challenge on the outside, but Midnight Lucky kept pulling away in
the lane to eventually be eight lengths clear while geared down in the final
Campaigned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman, Midnight Lucky was
the heavy 1-5 favorite in the eight-filly field and paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10.
Unusual Way proved best of the rest by 4 1/2 lengths over Countess Curlin, with
Infinitely rounding out the top four by holding Fraudulentfootnote to fifth by a
head. Cantile, Majestic River and Shesatopattraction completed the order under
All indications were that Midnight Lucky was ready to run a big race, and the
sophomore daughter of Midnight Lute earned a spot in the starting gate for the
Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs after earning 50 points on the new Road
to the Kentucky Oaks point system Sunday. She could now become the second
Sunland Park Oaks winner for Baffert to win the Kentucky Oaks after Plum Pretty
parlayed a stunning 25-length win in the former race to a quarter-length victory
under the Twin Spires in 2011.
The Sunland Park Oaks was the final race in the first leg of the championship
series of races on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. The six races in the second
leg will now be worth 100 points to the winner.
Bred in Kentucky by C. Kidder and J.K. & Linda Griggs, Midnight Lucky is
closing in on earning back her purchase price of $220,000 as a Fasig-Tipton
Saratoga Selected yearling. Thus far she’s banked $153,600 to go along with her
unbeaten two-for-two mark.
Midnight Lucky is out of the Citidancer mare Citiview, who was unable to win
in 10 races on track, and counts as a half-sister dual stakes-placed
Songofthecity. Her second dam is the stakes-winning Allen’s Prospect mare
Prospective Joy, who found success in the breeding shed when producing
Citiview’s full sister Hookedonthefeelin.
That mare would capture the Grade 1 La Brea and Grade 2 Landaluce before
going on herself to foal multiple Grade 1 queen Pussycat Doll, Grade 1 victor
Jimmy Creed, stakes winner Funny Feeling and multiple stakes-placed Blowing
Farther back, this female family is responsible for champion handicap horse
Bold Bidder, champion steeplechaser Top Bid and Group 1 Epsom Oaks heroine