Midships wins Santa Anita stakes

Updated: March 21, 2009, 9:25 PM ET
Associated Press

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Midships led all the way in winning the $150,000 San Luis Rey Handicap on Saturday by 1 3/4 lengths over Medici Code at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Midships covered 1½ miles on the turf in 2:25.63 and paid $7, $4.80 and $3.

Medici Code returned $5.80 and $3. Artiste Royal was another 3½ lengths back in third and paid $2.10.

It was Britain-bred Midships' first U.S. victory in his third start in this country. He finished 5 1/4 lengths behind You Got Me Rocking in a turf race at Santa Anita on Feb. 26 for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.

"Bobby told me to just let him run free," Espinoza said. "He left it up to me, and I was very happy with the way he broke from the gate. I was real confident with how he was running the whole way. He was running very easily."

You Got Me Rocking, owned by Oscar-winning composer Burt Bacharach, was a late scratch after sustaining minor injuries on the Saturday van ride across town from Hollywood Park.

Midships was ridden incorrectly while chasing You Got Me Rocking in the Feb. 26 race when he finished fourth as the 3-5 wagering favorite.

"Garrett Gomez didn't ride him right," Frankel said. "If Garrett had ridden him today, he'd have ridden him the same way as Victor did."

Gomez was riding in Kentucky on Saturday.

Spring House faded to last and was vanned off the track afterward with no obvious physical injury.

The victory, worth $90,000, increased Midships' career earnings to $225,830, with three wins in 13 starts.

In a co-feature, Noble Court rallied to defeat Dodgen Bullets by 1½ lengths in the $71,300 Joe Hernandez Stakes at 6½ furlongs on the turf.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Noble Court was timed in 1:12.16 and paid $15.40 for the win.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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