BATTLE OF MIDWAY, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner & Classic-placed son of Smart Strike, reti
Battle of Midway, winner of the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last Friday at Del Mar, has been retired from racing and will take up stud duty in 2018 at WinStar Farm. His fee will be $20,000 S&N.
“We are extremely proud of Battle of Midway and the tremendous performance he put forth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, passing such a fast horse as Sharp Azteca and doing so in such a fast time. His speed figures for that performance are off the charts across the board: negative two on Ragozin, negative four on Thoro-Graph, and 108 Beyer. It was an incredible race that affirmed the ability we always knew he had,” said Elliott Walden, WinStar President & CEO.
“Battle of Midway came out of the race in great shape, and it was a very bittersweet decision to make with our partners Don Alberto to retire this horse to stud. Ultimately, we both partnered on him in the first place because we thought he could be the last great son of Smart Strike to carry on that line at stud, so we are sticking to that plan. WinStar and Don Alberto are very committed to supporting Battle of Midway with world-class mares, because we both believe he possesses the pedigree, looks, conformation, and elite miler speed to become a very important sire.”
Added Don Alberto Stable’s Carlos Heller: “Battle of Midway improved all year to culminate in one of the most exciting Breeders’ Cup races on the entire weekend. We have assembled a very nice broodmare band and will support Battle of Midway with quality mares to give him the best chance of becoming the next great son of Smart Strike.”
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Battle of Midway scored his biggest career win in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, tracking pacesetters Sharp Azteca and Mor Spirit with a ground-losing four-wide trip the entire way around the Del Mar oval. Battle of Midway moved up to Sharp Azteca turning for home and out-finished his rival to the wire for a half-length victory, stopping the clock in 1:35.20 for the mile. He earned a 108 Beyer for the performance, marking the second fastest Beyer earned by a Dirt Mile winner behind only Liam’s Map in the last half dozen years. He also earned a negative two on Ragozin’s The Sheets, and a negative four on Thoro-Graph.
Earlier this year, Battle of Midway broke his maiden at first-asking at Santa Anita, clocking six furlongs in 1:09 flat. The bay colt joined Curlin and Lookin At Lucky as sons of Smart Strike to be namedTDN Rising Stars after impressive debut wins. Following a placing in the San Vicente S. (G2) in his second start, Battle of Midway stretched out to capture a loaded Santa Anita
Allowance race before his valiant runner-up effort in the $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1). In the Santa Anita Derby, he set a fast and contested pace before finishing just a half-length short at the wire of the prestigious 1 1/8-mile race.
That performance earned Battle of Midway a start in the Kentucky Derby, where he again battled on the early pace before finishing valiantly to be third in the 1 ¼-mile classic. He went on to capture the Affirmed S. (G3) at Santa Anita by 4 ¼ lengths in June, and the Shared Belief S. at Del Mar by 6 ¼ lengths in August.
Battle of Midway retires as Smart Strike’s newest millionaire, bankrolling $1,249,949 for owners WinStar Farm and Don Alberto Stable. Only off the board once, Battle of Midway owns a record of 5-2-2 from 10 starts in 2017. Bred in Kentucky by Thor-Bred Stables, he is out of the Grade 1-winning race mare Rigoletta.
A $410,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select yearling, Battle of Midway was originally purchased by Tom McGreevy for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, from which WinStar and Don Alberto privately acquired the colt in April.