09/03/2008 11:00PM

Midshipman gives Baffert 8th Futurity win

Email

DEL MAR, Calif. - For seven straight years, from 1996-2002, trainer Bob Baffert captured the Del Mar Futurity. Perhaps he can start a new streak, because on Wednesday, closing day at Del Mar, Baffert won the Grade 1, $250,000 Futurity for a record eighth time when Midshipman got up in the final jump to nose out Coronet of a Baron.

Street Hero was another three-quarters of a length back in third, with 5-2 favorite Southern Exchange fourth in his first start outside of Woodbine. Of the other fancied runners, Believe in Hope was fifth and Kelly Leak 10th in the field of 11.

Midshipman covered seven furlongs on Polytrack in 1:23.35.

The result was filled with drama. Not only did Baffert beat his former assistant, Eoin Harty, who trains Coronet of a Baron, but Midshipman was one of the runners sold earlier this week to Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable by the Stonerside Stable of Bob and Janice McNair. Midshipman ran in Stonerside's colors, and hung on a nose on a colt owned by Darley.

“I don't know how you could have scripted it any better,” said John Adger, the longtime racing manager for the McNairs. “This is the way to go out in style - win a Grade 1, and beat a Darley horse.”

The next time these two run, most likely in the Grade 1, $250,000 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting on Sept. 27, they will both be flying under the Darley banner.

“The deal should be closed in two to three weeks,” Adger said. “Everything's been agreed to. It's just lawyers and paperwork.”

Midshipman ($14.60) came into the race off a fast debut win against maidens on Aug. 17. He drew post 3, which concerned Baffert, so he instructed jockey Tyler Baze to get in the clear as soon as he could.

Baze could not have ridden a more perfect race. Even though Midshipman was keen to go from the start, Baze was able to slide him off the inside and into the four path, from which he steadily advanced on the far turn.

“He rode an exceptional race,” Baffert said.

Coronet of a Baron took over from Southern Exchange a furlong out, then just failed to last.

“He's still learning. He's still a little green,” Baffert said.

Daisycutter: Zucker sweeps divisions

Trainer Howard Zucker completed a sensational Del Mar season with his small barn by sweeping divisions of the Daisycutter Handicap for female turf sprinters with a pair of favorites.

Zucker won the $86,840 first division with Synnin and Grinnin ($6.40), who took over after a quarter-mile and then held off the late charge of Lightmyfirebaby to win by a head, with Eletro Nuclear another neck back in third. Synnin and Grinnin, under Joe Talamo, completed five furlongs on firm turf in 55.39 seconds.

Synnin and Grinnin has now won five straight races. She is owned by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny, who was in the winner's circle.

In the $75,140 second division, Queen of the Catsle ($4.20) burst through an opening on the inside after awaiting room on the turn and powered her way to a one-length victory over Overly Tempting, with Woodland City another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Queen of the Catsle, owned by the heirs of Carl Grether, was timed in 55.57 seconds. Victor Espinoza was up.

Zucker, who only has a handful of horses, won five turf sprints at the meet with these two 4-year-old fillies. He was 6-for-10 at the meet, with a pair of seconds.

“I don't think I've had this good a Del Mar the last 10 Del Mar's combined,” Zucker said. “I may never come back after this. This is a tough act to follow.”

Pirate's Bounty: Delta Storm in an upset

Delta Storm, the longest shot in the 10-horse field, pulled off the upset in the $86,080 Pirate's Bounty Handicap for older sprinters, surging past pacesetter Black Seventeen in the final sixteenth to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Sailors Sunset finished another three-quarters of a length farther back in third, with 2-1 favorite Jungle Prince seventh.

Delta Storm ($88), with Aaron Gryder aboard, covered six furlongs on Polytrack in 1:09.64.

Mike Mitchell trains Delta Storm, 7, who was claimed for $40,000 at Churchill Downs in May. He had made two starts at this meet after arriving from Kentucky, finishing second and then first in pair of second-level allowance turf sprints.

The Pirate's Bounty marked his ninth win in 23 lifetime starts. Delta Storm, a gelding, is now owned by Michael House.