10/26/2007 11:00PM

Midnight Lute is king of the sprinters

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Bob Baffert said the one thing he hoped for most coming into Saturday's $2omillion Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park with Midnight Lute was that the best horse would win.

And, boy, did he ever!

Midnight Lute left little doubt that he's the best sprinter in the country, overcoming a slow start to win the six-furlong Breeders' Cup Sprint by a widening 4 3/4 lengths over Idiot Proof.

Midnight Lute's performance, coming over a sloppy track that had favored speed for much of the day, gave the son of Real Quiet his second straight Grade 1 win. Midnight Lute turned in a similarly dazzling effort capturing Saratoga's Grade 1 Forego Handicap going seven furlongs on Sept. 1.

The Sprint didn't start out so well for Midnight Lute, who was bumped and pinched back after the break. Jockey Garrett Gomez, who had already won three stakes on the card, including the Juvenile Fillies for Baffert aboard Indian Blessing, kept Midnight Lute along the rail while racing about a dozen lengths off the early pace of Talent Search.

Midnight Lute commenced his rally leaving the backstretch then angled six wide while continuing to gain on the leaders entering the stretch. Midnight Lute was full of run down the middle of the track when he overtook Idiot Proof near the 70-yard pole and surged well clear at the wire.

Idiot Proof prompted the pace, edged clear of Talent Search near midstretch while lugging in slightly to the rail, but proved no match for the winner. Talent Search outlasted Benny the Bull by 1 3/4 lengths for third. They in turn were followed by Kelly's Landing, Bordonaro, Commentator, Greg's Gold, Smokey Stover, and Forefathers.

A claim of foul by the rider of Talent Search against Idiot Proof was disallowed.

Midnight Lute became the first favorite to win the Sprint since Orientate in 2002.

He returned $7 after covering the distance in 1:09.18.

"What he did today showed what a great horse he is," said Baffert, who trains Midnight Lute for Mike Pegram and Watson & Weitman Performance. "I knew if he broke bad it would take an inspirational move like he made to win. He's the best one I've ever led over to the Breeders' Cup and now I put him in the top five of all the horses I've trained."

Jockey Alex Solis, who rode Idiot Proof, said his horse ran a huge race but the winner was just too good.

"I tried to lock it up at the top of the stretch, and when we pulled away I thought we had it, but the other horse came flying out of nowhere," said Solis.