10/29/2017 1:27PM

Midnight Storm's dilemma: BC's Dirt Mile on Friday, or Saturday's Mile on turf

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Midnight Storm works Sunday morning at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Midnight Storm galloped slowly down the stretch at Santa Anita on Sunday morning, as good a time as any for majority owner Alex Venneri to admire a 6-year-old horse soon to go off to stud in Kentucky.

“He’s training awesome,” Venneri said. “He’s as good as he was when he was 5.”

A few minutes later, Midnight Storm worked a half-mile on his own in 48.40 seconds under jockey Tyler Baze. When Midnight Storm will make his next start has yet to be decided. The options include Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar or Saturday’s Mile on turf.

Venneri, on Sunday morning, seemed to be leaning toward Saturday's Mile, hoping the turf course at Del Mar will be firm and to Midnight Storm’s preference. A decision is required on Monday, when entries are finalized.

Midnight Storm, co-owned by Little Red Feather Racing partnership, was third in the 2016 BC Mile at Santa Anita. A winner of 10 of 26 starts, Midnight Storm has won five stakes on turf and two on the main track. In six starts this year, his lone win was the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes on a wet-fast track at Santa Anita on Jan. 1.

Last year, Midnight Storm won four stakes.

Trained by Phil D’Amato, Midnight Storm has started once on turf this year, finishing fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on Aug. 20. He led to early stretch before losing by 1 1/2 lengths. In the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes on dirt at Santa Anita on April 30, Midnight Storm again led to early stretch and finished second by 1 1/2 lengths to Mubtaahij, a contender in Saturday’s BC Classic.

D’Amato had two other Breeders’ Cup candidates on the track at Santa Anita on Sunday: the sprinters Proper Discretion and Ransom the Moon, who worked as a team.

Ransom the Moon, bound for the BC Sprint, worked a half-mile in 47 seconds, the fastest of 47 works at the distance. Proper Discretion, a candidate for the BC Filly and Mare Sprint, was timed in 47.40 seconds.

Ransom the Moon began two lengths behind Proper Discretion and ran alongside in early stretch.

“They were nice sharp halves to keep them on edge,” D’Amato said.

Goodyearforroses, a candidate for the BC Filly and Mare Turf on Saturday, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40. Trainer Richard Baltas was hoping to receive confirmation by Monday that Goodyearforroses would gain a berth in the Filly and Mare Turf from the also-eligible list.

“I’m hoping she gets in,” he said. “It’s her last race for us. She’s going in the sale and I think she’ll give a good account of herself.”

Goodyearforroses won two stakes at Santa Anita last year, but has lost her last four starts. She was eighth as the even-money favorite in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Sept. 30. The BC Filly and Mare Turf is run at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Goodyearforroses, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare by Azamour, is scheduled to be sold at Keeneland on Nov. 7.