10/20/2008 11:00PM

Midshipman may alter tactics

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - Midshipman suffered his first defeat when he finished second to Street Hero in the Grade 1 Norfolk last month. Trainer Bob Baffert said he believes that loss may actually help Midshipman's chances in Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

"We learned a lot from that race, his style of running,'' said Baffert, who wouldn't reveal exactly what he learned. "I saw something in there that he needs to do, so we're going to do things a little different. He's going to run much better; he needs to run much better. It's a tough field.''

Though Baffert wouldn't say exactly what he's going to do differently, it appears likely that he will have Midshipman get into the race a little sooner. In the Norfolk, Midshipman seemed to resist the restraint of jockey Tyler Baze, throwing his head around a bit. Midshipman did eventually settle down and made a solid, albeit wide run, but he couldn't sustain it through the stretch and was beaten three-quarters of a length by Street Hero.

Midshipman drew post 11 in the Juvenile, which drew a field of 13.

"The horse is doing well,'' Baffert said. "If you got a good horse who is doing well that's more important than post position.''

In addition to a likely change of tactics, Baffert is also changing riders. He will have Garrett Gomez replace Tyler Baze, who had been aboard for Midshipman's prior three races. Baffert said he had always intended for Gomez to ride this horse. Gomez worked Midshipman six furlongs in 1:12.38 on Sunday, the first time he had been on his back.

"He's a big, long-striding horse who covers quite a bit of ground,'' Gomez said. "He was very responsive to what I was asking him to do.''

Square Eddie, the likely Juvenile favorite, drew post 4, which pleased trainer Doug O'Neill.

"Great spot,'' O'Neill said. "I was worried about getting parked too wide; very happy.''

Though 16 horses were pre-entered for the Juvenile, only 13 were actually entered. Believe in Hope was declared on Monday due to a temperature and Coronet of a Baron opted for the Juvenile Turf. Though a spot was available for Forty Thieves, trainer Steve Klesaris chose to keep the horse home and will point for the Nashua at Aqueduct.