ACORN STAKES | PURSE: $300,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | FILLIES | GRADE 1 | ONE-MILE
Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman's Midnight Lucky set the early pace in the Kentucky Oaks last out before fading to fifth. On Monday, the Bob Baffert filly tracked behind the leading Momentary Magic for the opening half-mile of the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn at Belmont Park before taking over and drawing off for a 6 1/4-length score.
Jockey Rosie Napravnik bided her time on Midnight Lucky as Momentary Magic set splits of :22 2/5 and :45 1/5. Kauai Katie, the 8-5 second choice to Midnight Lucky's even-money favoritism, kept in close contact while running along the rail.
That bay miss fell back a bit but re-rallied as Close Hatches ran up to be widest of all in a four-horse tandem that also included Momentary Magic, Midnight Lucky and Let Me Entertain U rounding the turn. Midnight Lucky and Close Hatches shook loose from the other competition, and the eventual winner easily pulled away in the lane to finish a mile on the fast dirt in 1:35.
"We had a great trip," Napravnik said. "I really liked the post position and we were able to sit off the speed. Kauai Katie actually kind of had to sit back, so it was good for us, too. This filly just did it very easily and she's a very, very nice filly."
Midnight Lucky was worth $4.20, $3.10 and $2.20 to her backers while doubling her career earnings to $362,100. Close Hatches, who holds the distinction of easily beating Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar in the Gazelle on April 6, had three-quarters of a length on Kauai Katie to take second. Cue the Moon was another three parts of a length back in fourth and was followed under the wire by Let Me Entertain U and Momentary Magic.
"I was expecting maybe (Kauai Katie) to be on the lead, not (Momentary Magic), but other than that it shaped up as I expected," assistant trainer Jim Barnes remarked. "I wanted to be sitting anywhere from 2 to 2 1/2 lengths off the pace, which we were. They were moving right along, and at no point did it look like she was struggling with the racetrack.
"She's just a really nice filly and we're so happy to train her. The plan right now is day-by-day. We'll go back to Churchill and go from there."
Midnight Lucky just made her racing debut in mid-February, breaking her maiden at Santa Anita by 7 1/4 lengths. The gray daughter of Midnight Lute followed up with an eight-length romp in the Sunland Park Oaks to earn her shot in the Kentucky Oaks, but faltered in the lane and had to settle for fifth in that contest. Her career mark now stands at 3-0-0 from four starts.
Bred in Kentucky by C. Kidder and J.K. & Linda Griggs, Midnight Lucky is out of the Citidancer mare Citiview 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 Grade 1-winning full sister Hookedonthefeelin.
That mare would capture the La Brea and 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 Kisses.
Farther back, this female family is responsible for champion handicap horse Bold Bidder, champion steeplechaser Top Bid and Epsom Oaks heroine Intrepidity.