Within 24 hours of the devastating loss of Breeders' Cup champion Battle of Midway following a morning workout on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Santa Anita, came the delightful news that one of his foals was born at Jim and Katie Fitzgerald's Chilly Bleak Farm in Marshall, Va.
The 5-year-old Battle of Midway earned more than $1.5 million in his two-part, 16-start career, with an 8-4-2 record. While at stud at WinStar Farm, he covered 61 mares, leaving only five in foal. He returned to racing in the middle of last year, finishing first or second in four of five starts. After winning the Grade 2 San Pasqual on Feb. 2, the son of Smart Strike was possibly headed to the Dubai World Cup, but he suffered a fractured hind pastern during Saturday's workout and was euthanized.
His Chilly Bleak Farm offspring was one of five expected foals and the third to be born from Battle of Midway's brief career at stud. The Virginia-bred colt, out of the bay mare Delicate Affair by Langfuhr, emerged at 2:55 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24.
“She was due a week ago,” Katie Fitzgerald, a veterinarian, said on Saturday afternoon. “I think it'll be tonight. We had one at 4 a.m., so it's in the air.”
The chestnut colt with a white blaze was up within 20 minutes.
“He was looking for milk, “ Fitzgerald said. “But it was very bittersweet, after the tragic death of Battle of Midway yesterday. As they say, there's always light after darkness.”
Jim Fitzgerald, an Irish-born bloodstock agent and commercial breeder, said: “He's a big, strong handsome colt with a lot of quality.”
The Fitzgeralds keep nine or 10 broodmares and pinhook an average of about eight to 10 yearlings each year.
“It's mostly our own stock with one or two partners on certain horses,” Jim Fitzgerald said, adding that at this time they are “probably going to sell the colt as a yearling.”
The newborn colt's 2-year-old half-brother by Pioneerof the Nile was co-bred by the Fitzgeralds and Manganaro Bloodstock. He was purchased by Centennial Farm at Keeneland September 2018 for $425,000. Now named Centurion, he's in pre-training with Paula Parsons in Middleburg, Va.
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