The unfortunate thing about the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing is injuries can sometimes be fatal. Sad to say Battle of Midwayencountered this misfortune as he trained for a trip to the Dubai World Cup. A serious race horse for sure, here is our Battle moment that typified an excellent warrior.

We all know the Breeders’ Cup offers an excellent chance to invest and reap nice returns. So many good horses in every race means some are overlooked and BOOM a runner shows up with a big effort that yields a payday for his backers. Such was the case for Battle of Midway when he broke from the gates at Del Mar in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Now, this is where a hillbilly handicapper pulled one of those explosive moments thanks to this talented son of Smart Strike.

Del Mar is one of my favorite places in the whole world and with the Cup in town I was happier than a hound dog in the woods. Nose to the ground like a good beagle, I was on the trail of a winner…I hoped. When I looked at the Dirt Mile, Battle caused my ears to perk up. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, he smelled exactly like a rabbit in the briar patch. As I perused the program, my bark quickened as I knew the trail was hot. Midway was exactly what I was hunting. Sitting at 14-1 as post-time approached, he looked like a cottontail to me. Jockey Flavian Prat had been hotter than a cast iron skillet and Battle of Midway had won the Shared Belief Stakes over this same track back in August. This was the horse that could make me into a genius. Cashing tickets is always good, but scoring with a runner that goes off at double digit odds makes it look like you might just know a little something-something about this game.

The gates opened and Prat made like Admiral Nimitz at his mount’s namesake. Strategically placed by his cunning pilot, Battle of Midway stalked a good early pace. Flying to the outside at the top of the stretch, the gutty three-year old set his cross hairs on front running Sharp Azteca. Looking to be full of run, he powered alongside the race’s second choice on the tote board and had this beagle baying. As the stretch battle unfolded, Battle of Midway displayed the heart of a champion. Fighting all the way to the finish in an allied effort, Prat and his mount prevailed by a widening half length.

Because Battle Of Midway provided me with one of those intoxicating moments the sport is famous for, he always held a special place in this hillbilly’s heart. That run in the Dirt Mile was better than a glass of cousin Joe Bob’s mountain dew. More importantly however, was Battle of Midway’s determined drive over the Del Mar dirt that day told us all who he was…a real race horse that deserved respect. My heart aches for your connections, but rest assured Battle of Midway, I will always remember you for what you were, a courageous champion that made me howl like a hound dog. Rest in Peace.