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Stallion Profile: Midnight Lute

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Typically, big time sires will have one, maybe two top end runners in any given year on the Road to the Roses. Maybe they're lucky and have a filly that's gunning for the Oaks. If your first crop is doing that, you're unbelievable. And Midnight Lute, with his first crop turning 3 this year, has done just that: He's got two Derby starters and a serious contender in the Kentucky Oaks.

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2007 Breeders' Cup Sprint

Midnight Lute
is a peculiar case study as a stallion. He only succeeded at distances we consider sprints, but he's most definitely not bred to run short distances. It is well known that he had a chronic throat issue that caused him to really struggle when stretched out to a distance that forced him to take more than one big breath and just take off. In fact, we were looking to breed a mare to him last year, but decided against it precisely because of the breathing issue. His trainer, Bob Baffert, thought so much of him that he always has fully endorsed the idea that Midnight Lute was not limited to sprints due to his own ability, in fact, had his throat not been a major hindrance, he would easily have competed at route distances. Bob clearly considers him one of his best horses of all time to the point that Baffert's Twitter handle is @MidnightLute.

Midnight Lute - Real Quiet (Quiet American) - Candytuft (Dehere)

With only two crops on the track, it's a bit hard to take an actual account of his runners. But so far, Midnight Lute has gotten four really good runners:

Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute - Silverbulletway [Storm Cat]): Convincing winner of the G3-Sunland Derby and a horse that will be vying for the lead in the Kentucky Derby. He has a slightly odd way of moving, but shows good early speed.

Midnight Lucky (Midnight Lute - Citiview [City Dancer]): The star of the Sunland Derby card when she set a NTR and obliterated the field in the Sunland Oaks. A really dynamic filly that seems to be able to get any distance she will want to. Really pretty mover and definitley a factor in the 3yo filly division this year.

Shakin it Up (Midnight Lute - Silverbulletmoon [Vindication]): Won the 7f G2-San Vicente but finished a distant 4th to Govenor Charlie in the Sunland Derby.

Mylute (Midnight Lute - Stage Stop [Valid Expectations]): Not a stakes winner, but a 2nd in the G2-Louisiana Derby gets him into the Kentucky Derby a week from today. Seems to be a nice colt, but not entirely sure he's absolutely top quality.

Here's the kicker: Govenor Charlie, Midnight Lucky, and Shakin it Up are all raced by Mike Pegram. They were also bred by Mike Pegram. Midnight Lute was exactly the same, so the bloodline and connections are money. But that's the sign of a major owner showing absolute faith in his own stallion that he takes everything he owns mare-wise to him. And it takes that kind of support from your connections that really make or break a stallion (read: Kitten's Joy).

Now onto his pedigree:

When looking at Real Quiet's progeny, you see a dearth of true top end talent. Midnight Lute tops his list of earners and there are only two others that won more than $750,000 in Sunward Run and Pussycat Doll. He also got Wonder Lady Ann L, winner of the G1-CCA Oaks. Real Quiet died at 15 in 2010 following an accident in his paddock after siring 11 crops of foals. He was by no means a dominant sire, but instead was just a useful one. As a sign of his productivity, he stood in Pennsylvania and shuttled to Uruguay during the summer months. Real Quiet was campaigned by Mike Pegram and trained by Bob Baffert (a trend we will see repeated over and over herein). Real Quiet has no sons standing at stud of any note other than Midnight Lute.

2008 Breeders' Cup Sprint

Midnight Lute's Dam is a Dehere mare, Candytuft. She is a solid producer, which makes sense due to the fact that Dehere is a very good broodmare sire. Candytuft has produced three really nice foals that include her 2001 foal, Meadow Soprano (Meadowlake) who sold for $350k at the Fasig-Tipton Select 2yo Sale in 2003. She only won $31,000, but has produced a foal that sold for $220k at the FT Yearling sale last year. Candytuft's 2003 foal is Midnight Lute. Her 2006 foal is Captain Cherokee (Sir Cherokee), He sold for $650k at the Barrett's Marcho 2yo sale in 2008. He is also a winner of more than $350k and has placed in three G2s. He's a very very good Graded Stakes Horse. Candytuft's best runners seem to excel at right around a mile.

But outside of Candytuft and her good foals, the female family is relatively thin. There are a few six figure winners, and a couple stakes horses, but not much else. And while his 2nd dam (Bolt From the Blue) was a G3 winner, Her best runners are listed stakes placed. A pretty weak family.

Overall, I really like Midnight Lute. He posted the top Beyer of any sprinter ever at 124 and is a two time BC Sprint winner. He's won over $6 million. He's shown the ability to get some really high quality speed horses that have been able to run away from their competition around both one and two turns, something he himself could never manage. Now I really do think he was always physically capable of getting a Classic distance, but his breathing limitations kept him from getting that far. I think he's got an extremely bright future, and with the stout backing of his connections of Mike Pegram and Bob Baffert, he's in a pretty good place to succeed long term.