Three weeks after a very game performance in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1), Midnight Storm easily won his first main track graded stakes in Sunday's $100,000 Native Diver S. (G3) at Del Mar.
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The 5-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile now has six graded wins to his credit, with three coming in 2016, his best campaign to date. With $1,341,110 in earnings thus far, Midnight Storm is one of three millionaires, along with American Pharoah and Classic Empire, for Pioneerof the Nile.
The Native Diver, originally scheduled for the turf, posed no problem for the classy Midnight Storm, who overwhelmed his foes with a front-running, 7 3/4-length victory under Mike Smith. He covered the 1 1/8-miles in 1:51.59 under a track rated “good” which yielded slow times the entire day.
“(The main track win is) important for two reasons,” said Phil D’Amato, who trains Midnight Storm for the partnership of Alex Venneri and the Little Red Feather Racing syndicate. “As a stallion, it helps that he has graded stakes wins on turf and dirt, and down the road, it gives us more opportunities for next year.”
D'Amato's commented that the plan was to keep Midnight Storm in training in 2017.
Midnight Storm's record now stands at 9-3-1 in 20 starts, with graded wins in the Shoemaker Mile (G1), Del Mar Derby (G2), Seabiscuit H. (G2), Eddie Read S. (G2) and Del Mar Mile H. (G2) prior to Sunday's victory.