Lewis Michael, always well-placed in the seven-furlong dash, took command from pacesetting Barbecue Eddie in the upper stretch and then drew away to score by almost three lengths in convincing style.
The stewards posted the inquiry sign after the race because of an incident involving the winner and Barbecue Eddie in the stretch, but allowed the original order to stand after a study of the videotape.
Lewis Michael, owned by Frank Calabrese and trained by Wayne Catalano, set a record of 1:21.17 for the distance over Del Mar's new Polytrack surface and returned $19.20, $9 and $5.80. He also earned a spot in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint which will be renewed Saturday, October 25 at Santa Anita since the Pat O'Brien Handicap is a “Win and You're In” qualifying race.
Lewis Michael, a son of Rahy bred in Kentucky by the owner, earned a check for $175,000, boosting his earnings to $806,714 with seven wins in 22 starts. The horse arrived at Del Mar Tuesday from his base at Arlington Park in Chicago.
Rebellion paid $7.20 and $5.40, while Barbecue Eddie returned $5.40 to show.
RENE DOUGLAS (Lewis Michael) -- "Oh, no, no. It wasn't my horse. My horse wasn't swerving; that other horse was coming out. He was coming out. At one point he was right on my hip. He hit me. My horse ran good. Other than that bit of business, we had a perfect trip. He ran great."
GARRETT GOMEZ (Midnight Lute) -- "(On being backed out of the gate before the start) "He was throwing his head around and he has always been a problem child in the gate. They reloaded him and then we kicked it. I had nowhere to go. I just galloped him around there."
WAYNE CATALANO (Lewis Michael) -- "That was what we came for, right there. Everything went perfect, the whole plan. It's great when a plan comes together."
ALICE CLAPHAM (asst. to H. Graham Motion, Rebellion) -- "We're very happy. We had a clear run and Rafael [Bejarano] gave him a great ride. When we were here before, that race [San Diego Handicap] was a little too long for him. It was a mile and a sixteenth and seven furlongs fits him better."
JIM BARNES (Assistant to trainer Bob Baffert, Midnight Lute) -- "We never had a chance to run. Every time he tried to go anywhere, he was in behind horses and nowhere to go. He broke a little awkwardly and maybe that compromised his chances of getting a better position. He was tucked in behind horses the whole way with nowhere to go."
FRACTIONS: :22.65 :45.07 1:08.79 1:21.17
The final time is a Polytrack record, eclipsing the mark of 1:21.95 set on August 8, 2008 by Lethal Heat.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for Chicago-based Rene Douglas, but it was his 10th overall at Del Mar. This is the first time he has won this race.
The stakes win for Chicago-based Wayne Catalano was with the first horse he ever saddled at Del Mar.