10/20/2007 11:00PM

'Lute' tunes up for BC Sprint at Santa Anita

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Midnight Lute, the winner of the Grade 1 Forego Handicap at Saratoga last month and the expected favorite for Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park, worked five furlongs in 57.60 seconds at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Trainer Bob Baffert timed him in an even faster 56.60 seconds.

Working in company with the stakes winner Wanna Runner, Midnight Lute made up approximately six lengths on his stablemate on the backstretch, raced on the outside of Wanna Runner on the turn and pulled clear through the stretch to finish two lengths in front.

As Midnight Lute ran through the stretch, Baffert, via walkie-talkie, told exercise rider Janell Gruss to continue urging Midnight Lute. “Keep going,” Baffert said. “Go, go, go.”

Midnight Lute galloped out six furlongs in 1:09.80, according to Baffert’s stopwatch. “Beautiful,” Baffert said of the workout. “The track is fast.”

Midnight Lute recorded the second-fastest of 46 works at the distance.

Baffert worked two additional Breeders’ Cup hopefuls on Sunday. Cry and Catch Me, a leading candidate for the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, worked five furlongs in 58.40, while Tough Tiz’s Sis, a runner in the $2 million Distaff, worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds.

Two other juveniles worked for Breeders’ Cup races. Izarra, who is bound for the Juvenile Fillies, worked six furlongs in 1:14.20 under jockey Victor Espinoza. “My only instructions to him were to chirp to her when she switched leads in the stretch,” trainer Ron McAnally said.

At Hollywood Park, Salute the Sarge, who will start in the $2 million Juvenile, worked five furlongs in 1:02.20. Trainer Eric Guillot said Salute the Sarge ran the last furlong in 12.20 seconds and galloped out in 1:15.