May 17, 2022

Battle of Midway returns in Affirmed

Battle of Midway prepares for the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Thursday, May 4, 2017 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

A pair of graded contests will take place at Santa Anita Park on Saturday with each – the $100,000 Affirmed Stakes (G3) and $100,000 Precisionist Stakes (G3) – drawing five runners.

The 1 1/16-mile Affirmed is headed by Battle of Midway, who was last seen finishing third in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 6. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee is looking for his first stakes victory in the Affirmed, having run in third in the San Vicente Stakes (G2) and a half-length second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his only other stakes attempts.

Battle of Midway was installed as the 4-5 favorite on the morning line with jockey Flavien Prat staying in the saddle.

Arms Runner, the 9-5 second choice on the morning line, puts his two-for-two mark on the line in this spot for trainer Peter Miller. The gray son of Overdriven broke his maiden on April 20 and captured the Desert Code Stakes on May 13, both going about 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course. Arms Runner will try dirt and a route of ground for the first time here under regular rider Norberto Arroyo Jr.

Grade 3 scorer Term of Art, stakes winner B Squared and stakes debuter Quiet Dude complete the Affirmed field.

Two races later, Collected has been installed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite in the Precisionist off a pair of easy wins in the Californian Stakes (G2) and Santana Mile. The Bob Baffert-trained son of City Zip returned in that latter April 1 contest off a 10th-place run in the 2016 Preakness Stakes (G1), and keeps Martin Garcia aboard as he goes for a perfect three-for-three in 2017.

Accelerate is looking for his first win of the year for trainer John Sadler in this spot. The four-year-old son of Lookin at Lucky closed out 2016 with a third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) under regular jockey Tyler Baze. Thus far this year, the duo have placed in the San Pasqual Stakes (G2) and San Antonio Stakes (G2), and enters this spot off a runner-up effort against allowance/optional claiming rivals on May 5.

Grade 2-placed stakes winners Donworth and Cat Burglar, and Argentinean Group 1 hero Keane round out the Precisionist field.