Call Me Midnight took advantage of the long Fair Grounds stretch, getting up on the wire to deny Epicenter by a head in Saturday’s $200,000 Lecomte S. (G3). James Graham was up on the late-running longshot.
Overlooked at 28-1, Call Me Midnight registered his stakes triumph for owner Peter L. Cantrell and trainer Keith Desormeaux, and the three-year-old colt earned 10 points for taking the Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier.
The dark bay was exiting a seventh in his first stakes attempt, the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) at Churchill Downs in late November.
Epicenter, the 8-5 second choice after a 6 1/2-length win in the Dec. 26 Gun Runner S. at Fair Grounds, sprinted forward at the start, establishing splits in :23.40, :47.01, and 1:12.16 on a short lead.
Call Me Midnight rated in eighth, more than 10 lengths back during the opening half-mile, and launched his bid nearing the completion of the far turn, closing six wide into the stretch. But he still had plenty of ground to make up while straightening for home.
Epicenter came under pressure from 3-2 favorite Pappacap, who nearly drew even, but the pacesetter was able to turn back his challenger in midstretch. However, he could not withstand the late surge from Call Me Midnight, who came rallying into contention in the final sixteenth of a mile and prevailed in a photo finish.
Call Me Midnight finished the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:44.36.
Epicenter held second by a head over Pappacap, who wound up 3 1/2 lengths better than Trafalgar in fourth. Presidential, Cyberknife, Blue Kentucky, Unified Report, and Surfer Dude followed.
By Midnight Lute, Call Me Midnight broke his maiden when making his fifth start in a one-mile maiden special weight at Churchill Downs in mid-November, rallying to win going away by 3 1/4 lengths.
He came back two weeks later for the Kentucky Jockey Club, offering a nice middle move past rivals before flattening out in the stretch, and continued to show more while returning from a 56-day freshening in the Lecomte.
Bred in Kentucky by Hartwell Farms Inc., Call Me Midnight was purchased by Cantrell for $80,000 at the OBS March two-year-old sale. He’s out of the First Defense mare, who is also the dam of the stakes-placed Bayern filly Bayerly Seen, and this is the female family of 1997 Broodmare of the Year Slightly Dangerous.