Midnight Miley made every pole a winning one in Saturday's Grade 3 $150,600 Seaway Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Julia Carey for Little Red Feather Racing, the four-year-old Midnight Lute bay proved that turning back in distance from her front-running route in the Grade 3 Ontario Matron was no issue at all with yet another prominent effort in Saturday's seven furlong test under Rafael Hernandez.
Midnight Miley, sent to post at odds of 5-2, broke sharpest of all in the Seaway and opened up a three-length lead through a :23 flat opening quarter with Elusive Collection tracking her early foot. She widened her lead to five lengths after a half-mile in :45.42.
Luis Contreras asked Elusive Collection for her best run through the turn, but there was no reeling in Midnight Miley who stayed on strong to notch a 3/4-length win. Elusive Collection earned second money, 2 3/4-lengths in front of the late closing pair of Regia Marina and Cactus Kris who could not be separated in a show photo. Midnight Miley covered seven furlongs in 1:22.07.
Hernandez, who won the Breeders' Stakes last Sunday at Woodbine in a 26-1 upset aboard Camp Creek, is now a perfect two-for-two aboard Midnight Miley. He guided the free-wheeling bay to an impressive four-length score last time out in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron after opening up an early six-length lead.
“Julia told me we could break and sit off the pace today, and I said, 'Let's play it by ear'. She broke well and dragged me to the lead and I let her do it…come get me,” said Hernandez. “This isn't supposed to be her distance. Julia asked me the other morning if she could do it and I said, 'For sure.' She has good speed out of the gate and is always consistent.”
Carey was pleased with the perfect trip engineered by Hernandez.
“Rafael rides her beautifully. You have to ride her with a bit of a hold. If you hustled her too much she'd probably fall apart. I thought they were good fractions. This is an extended sprint so she wasn't going to get a :24 quarter today,” said Carey. “She's been working so well that I expected a good effort. She's mature and healthy and I have a great team working with her. She's just a healthy, strong filly.”
The filly arrived at Woodbine from California in June of 2015 and after a trio of local starts, she captured the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette Stakes on September 20. An allowance winner on the turf at Golden Gate on April 4, 2015, Midnight Miley could see her next start in the grassy Grade 2 Canadian Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile Breeders' Cup Win and You're In event, slated for September 17 on the Ricoh Woodbine Mile undercard.
Midnight Miley, bred in Kentucky by Mark Secrest, banked $90,000 in victory while improving her record to 6-1-1 from 15 starts.
She paid $7.50, $4.50 and $2.30, combining with Elusive Collection ($3.90, $2.30) for a $31.10 (1-2) exactor. A 1-2-6 triactor (Cactus Kris, $2.10 to show) was worth $26.30, and a 1-2-4 triactor (Regia Marina, $2.20 to show) came back $81.20.
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