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.
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.’’
Renee’s Titan, who pressed the issue after breaking from the outside, outfinished Scarlet Strike by a half-length. Making her first start at Betfair Hollywood Park since a 4 ½ length debut victory June 21, Renee’s Titan, who was 11-1, returned $10.80 and $4.60. The show price on the favorite was $2.10.
A distant second behind Executiveprivilege in the Grade I Chandelier Stakes last month at Santa Anita, Scarlet Strike had no visible excuses. She sat just off the lead while saving ground, angled outside to gain a brief advantage with an eighth of a mile to run, but couldn’t match the first pair.
“She had a perfect trip and we saved ground,’’ said Joe Talamo of Scarlet Strike. “She was heads up for the lead turning for home and they just ran by her.’’
Rhodium wound up fourth, 3 ½ lengths behind Scarlet Strike and 12 ¼ in front of Wittgenstein, then came Tilde, the 7-2 second choice and winner of last month’s California Cup Juvenile Fillies, and Magestic Stinger, who was pulled up on the backstretch. Steward Kim Sawyer reported the Majestic Warrior filly grabbed a quarter.