Midnight Lute, Pegram, Baffert and Smith Still “Shakin it Up” at Santa Anita.
Last Saturday another Pegram homebred son of MIDNIGHT LUTE, MIDNIGHT HAWK, won the G.III Sham Stakes forcing industry insiders, horseplayers, and thoroughbred enthusiasts alike to form an opinion about the talented, unbeaten colt. Casual observers likely felt as if it were a mirage…a week removed only the color of the winning colt’s coat differentiated SHAKIN IT UP from his stable mate.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer leads the trainer standings narrowly over Baffert, but suffered a stinging defeat by not one, but two Baffert trainees as HEAR THE GHOST and ZEEWATT finished a distant third and fourth, respectively. More on Team Hollendorfer later.
The star of the day broke alertly in just his second effort around two turns. SHAKIN IT UP allowed Smith to save ground around the first turn. One of the two pace setters was stable mate
GOVENOR CHARLIE and Martin Garcia, the “other” Baffert, who looked as if he may have run his race in the paddock. He continued to be hot once on the track, craning his neck to see the crowd on the apron while walking in the post parade. This was worrisome for his supporters, but understandable considering ‘CHARLIE had not run since May when he came up empty in the G.I Preakness Stakes. Despite all the pre-race antics, GOVENOR CHARLIE pressed and put away sprint stakes winner HEIR OF STORM but his stable mate would not let him clear.
SHAKIN IT UP enjoyed a perfect trip before making an earnest move to the lead coming off the turn. The near-black colt bid for the lead into the stretch without being asked. Shortly after he jumped into his right lead, SHAKIN IT UP seized command and Smith shook the reins to see what was under him. In a matter of strides the Strub Stakes was all over but the shouting, with SHAKIN IT UP never feeling that patented Smith left handed encouragement.
Despite a Hall of Fame trainer making best laid plans with Nakatani (20% wins this meeting) and Rafael Bejarano, gate trouble for HEAR THE GHOST and perhaps a distance limitation for ZEEWATT were the results Hollendorfer had to live with on the day.
The Strub was all about Baffert and two talented sons of MIDNIGHT LUTE. Below are some additional pictures, enjoy.
|G.II Strub Stakes post parade.|
|SHAKIN IT UP and MIKE SMITH show game faces before the Strub Stakes.|
|HEAR THE GHOST and COREY NAKATANI were ready for a big run in the Strub Stakes.|
|Strub Stakes field runs under the wire first time around.|
|Mike Pegram's silks loom large on GOVENOR CHARLIE (white cap, center) and SHAKIN IT UP (three wide bid) into the Strub Stakes stretch run.|
|Smith and SHAKIN IT UP take aim on Garcia and GOVENOR CHARLIE.|
|SHAKIN IT UP showing off the winning stride.|