Norman Stables' Silent Bird got his first graded stakes victory on Saturday, holding off Tough Sunday by a head to win the Grade 3 Midnight Lute. A 5-year-old son of Summer Bird trained by Mark Glatt, Silent Bird donned blinkers for the first time in the Midnight Lute. Jockey Kent Desormeaux moved him up the rail to take the lead mid-way down the backstretch, and shut off an inside hole for Calculator at the top of the lane en route to victory. Silent Bird, off at 3-1 odds, covered 6 1/2 furlongs over Santa Anita's fast main track in 1:16.03. Tough Sunday ran second at 12-1, while even money favorite Americanize finished third. Calculator was fourth.
“I asked my Summer Bird progeny, my Triple Crown-race winning baby for all he had and he gave it,” said Desormeaux. “For him to look like Summer Bird, feel like him and go like him, it's amazing. I have incredibly fond memories and this brings it all back.”
Both Tough Sunday and Calculator were quick into stride along the outside, but Americanize and Silent Bird came rushing up the inside to take command down the backstretch. Silent Bird drew out a slight advantage over Americanize through fractions of :22.18 and :44.75, with Tough Sunday a clear third. Calculator dropped back slightly and jockey Javier Castellano took the rail spot in a ground-saving attempt around the turn.
The three-wide Tough Sunday got the better of Americanize around the turn and hooked Silent Bird at the top of the stretch. Desormeaux had allowed Silent Bird to drift off the rail slightly, but peeked under his left arm and saw Castellano gearing up to take the inside route aboard a fully-loaded Calculator. Desormeaux, just clear of his rival, shut off the rail spot and forced Castellano to go around.
Silent Bird was all racehorse down the stretch at Santa Anita, holding Tough Sunday at bay by the narrowest of margins. At the wire, Silent Bird was about a head in front of Tough Sunday, who was in turn a neck in front of Americanize. Calculator did not re-engage for Castellano and wound up fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by JMI, Silent Bird was a $40,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall sale. The intact male had previously won a listed stakes race and was most recently third in the G2 Pat O'Brien Stakes. Overall, Silent Bird boasts a record of six wins from nine starts with earnings of over $300,000.
“We put the blinkers on and that certainly put a little more speed on him,” Glatt said. “It was a typical one hole draw. He doesn't like dirt in his face, so I told Kent, 'Whatever you do, let's try, with the rail draw, to get to the outside. When he broke a little flat, Kent kind of asked him to run and then he jumped into the bit, so at that point he figured to just keep his position and he kept it all the way.”
Tough Sunday, the runner-up, was born with “dummy foal syndrome,” meaning he was both blind and deaf. The California-bred son of Grazen regained his sight and has become a solid racehorse, finishing third in last year's Midnight Lute and second in the 2017 edition.
“He's only had one race in the last year, so I didn't want to rush him but I knew Steve (Miyadi) had him ready to run today,” said jockey Tyler Baze of Tough Sunday. “He's an amazing horse. He gave everything he had today, just like he always does. He'll be very tough next time, believe me. He's gonna win some more races, no question.”
In addition, Calculator, the fourth-place finisher, is a survivor of the devastating fire at the San Luis Rey training center earlier this month.
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