11/13/2012 3:15PM

Hollywood Park notes: Starlet could be next for Midnight Ballet

Benoit & Associates
Midnight Ballet is from the first crop of two-time BC Sprint winner Midnight Lute.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Midnight Ballet, who successfully stretched out around two turns to win the Sharp Cat Stakes on Sunday, could come back in the Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 8, trainer Tom Proctor said.

For her to run in the Starlet, though, Midnight Ballet will have to be supplemented to the race for $10,000, and it costs another $10,000 to start. She was not nominated to the race.

Midnight Ballet has earned her way, though. First prize in the Sharp Cat was $60,000.

Midnight Ballet had finished a distant fifth of six in an allowance sprint at Santa Anita in her prior start Oct. 4, but that race didn’t look quite so bad when the winner, Beholder, returned to win the BC Juvenile Fillies. The 1 1/16-mile Sharp Cat afforded Midnight Ballet the opportunity to go two turns, and she was ridden for the first time by Julien Leparoux, a recent arrival to this circuit.

“There wasn’t no Beholder in there, and it’s not a speed-favoring track,” Proctor said. “She acted up a little in the gate, and she got clobbered leaving the gate, so this was a pretty good race for her.”

Midnight Ballet is from the first crop of two-time BC Sprint winner Midnight Lute. She won her debut at Del Mar on Aug. 11, so she is now 2 for 3. Both Proctor and Leparoux agreed the extra distance was an asset.

“She’s a big filly and she breaks okay, but she’s not real fast,” Leparoux said. “I got her out at the quarter pole and she made a nice run.”

Senior citizen Porfido keeps on rolling

Porfido is the oldest racehorse on the grounds, but the old man still has some pep in his step. The 10-year-old veteran won for the 14th time in 58 starts when he rallied from last to first in a $25,000 claiming race on Saturday.

Remarkably, it was his first win in 18 starts over the Hollywood Park turf, though he has finished in the money now in 12 of those races. More remarkably, Porfido has won four times in nine starts this year, so he obviously is retaining his zest for competition. And because of his age, he’s practically claim-proof.

“He’s a real sweetheart,” said Eoin Harty, who took over as Porfido’s trainer last year after Humberto Ascanio suffered a stroke. “There isn’t a malicious bone in his body. I noticed that when he ran this time, people were taking video of him, taking pictures, so obviously he’s got some sort of following.”

After the race, a fan came up to Harty and asked if Porfido would remain in training next year at age 11.

“I can’t see why not,” Harty replied.

“I just keep him happy,” Harty said later. “We do different things with him. Sometimes I let him go for a roll in the sand pit, sometimes we just let him walk through the stable area. Every day we mix it up. When you’re training a 10-year-old, you have to think outside the box.”

Harty said Porfido has a sweet tooth, having been pampered by Ascanio and the late Bobby Frankel, who trained Porfido before his death three years ago.

“He loves his treats,” Harty said. “Bobby and Humberto spoiled him with mints.”

Tiz Flirtatious heads Cat’s Cradle

Tiz Flirtatious, who returned from an 8 1/2-month layoff to win the California Cup Distaff on Oct. 13, heads the likely field for the $75,000-added Cat’s Cradle for older female Cal-bred sprinters on Sunday.

Others expected for the 7 1/2-furlong Cat’s Cradle include Camille C, Sparkling Style, and Willa B Awesome, who won the Santa Anita Oaks earlier this year.

The On Trust Handicap, the male version of the Cat’s Cradle – $75,000 purse, 7 1/2 furlongs on Cushion Track – is on tap Saturday, and is expected to be topped by Cal Cup Sprint winner Maui Mark. His rivals are expected to include Got Even, Killer Bear, and Macho Dorado.