May 25, 2022

Awake At Midnyte returns to dirt in Santa Ynez

Awake At Midnyte (purple cap) was beaten a nose in the 2021 Jimmy Durante (G3) (Benoit Photo)

Santa Ynez S. (G2) — Race 8 (7 p.m. ET)

Based on her record thus far, the three-year-old filly Awake At Midnyte appears to have plenty of avenues for potential success this season. On Saturday, the daughter of Nyquist looks to hop on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) trail by winning the $200,000 Santa Ynez S. (G2) at Santa Anita.

The Doug O’Neill trainee has been involved in a pair of photo finishes in two starts. After registering a neck victory in her debut over six furlongs at Santa Anita on Oct. 31, Awake At Midnyte displayed versatility when finishing second by a nose in the one-mile Jimmy Durante (G3) over the Del Mar turf.

“She’s a nice filly, very honest,” O’Neill said.

The Santa Ynez, over seven furlongs on the main track, will award the respective top four finishers Kentucky Oaks qualifying points of 10-4-2-1.

“Sprint, route, turf, dirt, the Nyquists do a lot of different things, and Awake At Midnyte has the pedigree to be good and we’re optimistic we can keep going up the ladder with her,” O’Neill added.

The potential favorite in the Santa Ynez is Big Switch, the John Sadler filly who improved her record to 2-for-2 with a win in Nov. 5 Golden State Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar last time. The Santa Ynez marks Big Switch’s first start in open company. Mimajoon, wire-to-wire winner of the Golden Gate Debutante in late November, and recent turf maiden winner Miss Mattie B are also among the field of six.

Under the Stars, a three-length maiden winner at Los Alamitos following a third-place finish to stablemate Eda in the Desi Arnaz S., will break from the rail in the Santa Ynez. However, as she’s trained by Bob Baffert, she is ineligible to accrue Oaks qualifying points in the race due to Baffert’s current suspension from racing at Churchill Downs.