May 24, 2022

Derby contender Battle of Midway bought by WinStar, Don Alberto

Battle of Midway, right, was just collared by Gormley in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) ©Benoit Photo

Battle of Midway, who earned his spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1) with a gutsy second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), will race for new ownership. Hitherto campaigned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, the classic contender – and stallion prospect – has been acquired by WinStar Farm and Don Alberto Stable in a deal announced Friday.

By Smart Strike and out of Grade 1 winner Rigoletta, Battle of Midway will remain in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. He is expected to ship from his Santa Anita base to Churchill Downs Derby week, and Flavien Prat, who guided him to an allowance win two back, reportedly regains the mount.

“We are excited to join with WinStar on such an exciting racing prospect,” Don Alberto Stable’s Fernando Diaz-Valdes said in the release.

“Battle of Midway has shown tremendous potential, and we feel he is an excellent prospect for the Kentucky Derby and beyond. We have the utmost respect for Mr. Porter and the job he and his team have done in developing Battle of Midway, and we appreciate the opportunity to campaign him going forward.”

WinStar President, CEO & Racing Manager Elliott Walden commented on the colt’s appeal:

“We very much look forward to our partnership with Don Alberto on Battle of Midway, and we believe this colt has a bright future as both a racehorse and stallion prospect. Physically, it’s easy to see why he was picked out at the Saratoga Select sale by Tom McGreevy, who’s one of the best judges of a horse in the game.

“Battle of Midway ran well in the Santa Anita Derby after being hounded through fast fractions, and he has a lot of qualities that make him an exciting Kentucky Derby contender. When you think about him being one of the last top colts by Smart Strike – a proven sire of sires, you can’t help but to think about his potential down the road as a stallion.”

McGreevy, acting as agent for Fox Hill, purchased Battle of Midway for $410,000 at the aforementioned Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale in 2015. The bay was consigned by Gainesway, agent for breeders Erik and Pavla Nygaard’s Thor-Bred Stables.

Unraced at two, Battle of Midway rolled on debut in a January 21 maiden over six furlongs in a brisk 1:09. He went off as the 4-5 favorite in the February 12 San Vicente (G2), but never challenged the runaway Iliad in third. Battle of Midway thrived on the stretch-out for a 1 1/16-mile Santa Anita allowance, holding off Don Alberto’s well-regarded homebred Reach the World. He took another step forward in the Santa Anita Derby, arguing a taxing pace before succumbing to Gormley by a half-length.

With Prat back aboard, Battle of Midway may employ different tactics at Churchill Downs. He brings a 4-2-1-1, $290,000 mark into the Kentucky Derby.