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Apr 15, 2011

Depleted Santa Anita Derby goes to Midnight Interlude


Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Despite the absence of the original top two favorites, the $1 million Santa Anita Derby still proved to be exciting as Midnight Interlude edged Comma to the Top.

Premier Pegasus, the original 8-5 morning line favorite, was scratched Thursday with a hairline fracture of his left front cannon bone and 4-1 second choice Jaycito was withdrawn on Friday due to a recurring foot problem.

Bob Baffert trains both Jaycito and Midnight Interlude who went off at 13-1.

Silver Medallion went from being the 9-2 third pick in the program to the 5-2 morning-line favorite after the odds were readjusted. Robert B.Lewis Stakes champ Anthony's Cross dropped from 6-1 to 3-1. The 11 horse field was reduced to nine starters.

Setting the pace in the 1 1/8-mile race was 6-1 fourth choice Comma to the Top. He was ridden by Corey Nakatani along the rail while Offlee Wild Boys was running second in the early going.

Up the backstretch Comma to the Top still set the pace with Silver Medallion second and Midnight Interlude racing third on the outside. Close behind the top three were Offlee Wild Boys and Mr. Commons.

Around the final turn Comma to the Top was leading along the inside as Midnight Interlude rallied on the outside and Mr. Commons, the 3-1 co-second selection, moved into third.

Down the stretch Comma to the Top and Midnight Interlude battled as Mr. Commons tried to get involved in the duel. At the wire it was Midnight Interlude and jockey Victor Espinoza sticking a head out to defeat Comma to the Top.

Finishing third was Mr. Commons followed by Silver Medallion, Anthony's Cross, Indian Winter, Bench Points, Quail Hill and Offlee Wild Boys.

The time for the Santa Anita Derby was 1:48.66 on a fast track.

"This horse was green," Baffert said about Midnight Interlude. "I never sent a horse off a maiden to the (Santa Anita) Derby. He grew up in a hurry."

Owned by Arnold Zetcher, Midnight Interlude was coming off his maiden victory three weeks ago at Santa Anita Park. The colt was third in his first career start in January and second the following month.

The $600,000 from Saturday's win is enough for the colt to get into the Kentucky Derby in four weeks.

"You want your last prep to be like this," Baffert noted about preparing for the Run for the Roses.

Midnight Interlude returned $29.80, $12.00 and $6.00. Comma to the Top paid $9.20 and $5.80, and Mr. Commons paid $3.60 to show. Comma to the Top is not expected to start in the Kentucky Derby.

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