In her first start beyond six furlongs, Midnight Ballet scored a 10-1 upset in the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Providing jockey Julien Leparoux with his first stakes win at the Autumn meet in three years, the daughter of Midnight Lute rallied to defeat Renee’s Titan, 4-5 favorite Scarlet Strike and four other 2-year-old fillies.
Owned by Stoneway Farm and trained by Tom Proctor, Midnight Ballet won for the second time in three starts and pushed her earnings to $103,000. She completed the 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track in 1:45.93.
A winner at nearly 9-1 in her Aug. 11 debut at Del Mar, Midnight Ballet was well beaten in her only try over conventional dirt, finishing 19 lengths behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Beholder Oct. 4.
Well off the pace set by Rhodium, Midnight Ballet mounted her bid while wide and was up to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Buzz Song, she paid $22.20, $10.80 and $4.60.
“I think the two turn distance helped her,’’ said Leparoux after his first stakes win at the Autumn meet since he took the 2009 Hollywood Prevue aboard American Lion. “She’s a big filly and she breaks OK, but she’s not real fast. I decided to put her on the rail, save ground and follow the favorite. I got her out at the quarter pole and she made a nice run.’’
Midnight Ballet wasn’t an early nominee to the Grade I, $500,000-guaranteed Hollywood Starlet, which will be run Dec. 8, so she would have to be supplemented for $10,000 with an additional $10,000 to start.
“We weren’t thinking (about the Starlet), but you never know,’’ said Proctor. She’s a big, long filly. It’s nice to win a race.’’
-Hollywood Park Publicity
Midnight Ballet/Benoit photo