After his crushing win in the Champagne Stakes, Midnight Hour was immediately pointed to a start in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. However, after such dominating wins, with all seeming to perfectly well, Midnight Hour emerged from a training session with a slight limp. It was discovered that the colt had overreached when galloping, catching the back of his right front leg. With the Breeders Cup only two weeks away, Brad, Nick, and the new co-owners decided it best to wait and save the colt for another day, more specifically the Remsen, which would give the colt three weeks extra to rest his leg before running again.
The Remsen was billed as a match up between Midnight Hour and another up and coming star, Red Warrior, a deep red chestnut colt, with an imposing physique. The race would not be a run away, like the Champagne, but the colt would once again prove victorious, winning by two lengths, setting him up as one of the early favorites for the up and coming Kentucky Derby!
Midnight poked his dark, blazed head over the stall door with an eager look of anticipation in his eyes. Nick laughed at the look Midnight gave him, for unlike most horses, it was not for his food, it was because he knew that he didn't go out for a morning exercise, which to him meant race day.
Again Nick laughed as the colt stamped his foot, snorting, while nodding his head rhythmically, sending his dark forelock cascading over his head. Nick, too, was ready to go, for this race was Midnight's three year old debut, and would show them if he had been able to keep the form and brilliance he displayed as a two year old.
The race was the one mile Southwest Stake, merely a test drive, basically, in determining where the colt stood in comparison to his three year old peers. Nick was slightly relieved that their main competitor, Red Warrior was wintering in Florida. In the Remsen Red Warrior had proven to be the only other colt to make Midnight ever work for the win, as he had been able to run with him every yard of the race until the final sixteenth. Nick had no doubt that the colt had would improve as a three year old and that fact was a scary thought.
Eliza Fisher, the daughter of the new co-owners, James and Calley Fisher, walked up beside Nick, quietly surveying Midnight. For a few seconds, Nick didn't say anything, then turned with a bright yet nervous, greeting smile.
"Nervous?" She asked, with a slight edge to her voice as well.
Nick nodded, "Yeah, I always am before a race." He did not say that her presence was also making him slightly nervous. He had come to like the Fishers daughter very much, and for months they had been good friend, but now as she stood next to him he felt something more.
"Well, I just came by to wish you luck." She looked down at her feet, her dirty blond, hair falling from behind her ear, shadowing her bright green eyes.
"Thank you." Was all Nick could come up with as his overloaded brain overflowed at sight of her.
"Well," she said glancing back up, " I'll see you in the winner's circle." And with that she turned around, exiting the stable.
Race Time Baby!
Nick's mind may have temporarily unnerved by all the pre-race happenings, but as soon as he mounted his handsome colt and rode him out on the track, his mind went straight into race-mode. Midnight pranced beneath him, but still remained responsive to even the lightest touch of the reins.
They approached the gate, and without any hesitation at all Midnight walked calmly and coolly in to the gate. He seemed to have the attitude that the win was a foregone conclusion and that all the rest of his competitors were running for second. Well at least I know his pre-race attitude hasn't changed at all, thought Nick as the rest of the horses loaded.
It wasn't long after them that Nick head the starter call out "One back!" Then he heard the sound of the metal doors clink shut behind the last starter. For a few seconds, it was complete silence as they all waited in the gate, then Brrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnggggggggg!!!! The gates flung open and they were off!
Midnight leaped from the gate, rolling to lead. Behind him came the runner up in last year's Breeders Cup Juvenile, Lucky Boy, and soon, he too came up to push Midnight. However, it only took a slight lengthening of his stride before Midnight distance himself, yet again, from Lucky Boy.
They galloped into the far turn without an incident. Nick heard the announcer call the quarter in 24 second flat, a slow time for Midnight, but Nick knew that would only leave more in the tank for his free running colt. Suddenly Nick looked under his shoulder to see a riderless horse tearing up the track, gunning right for Nick and Midnight.Nick waited only a few seconds for the scared colt to veer outside, but it didn't take long for him to see the colt was not going to change course any time soon. Nick, steered his colt to the outside, leaving plenty of room for the other colt to pass.
Entering the stretch Nick looked under his left arm and saw nothing of the colt. Turning around, thinking the colt had dropped back he started to move his hands up Midnight's neck when suddenly he felt his colt's hind end go out from under them! The riderless horse had come up behind Nick and Midnight, veering out and catching Midnight's back legs. Nick heard the audience gasp at the site, as Midnight plunged towards the ground, but then with a decisive thrust Nick felt the colt gather himself back up and shove himself upright again.
Four horse had passed them and now with a furlong to go Midnight, before Nick could rein him in, took off in hot pursuit. His legs swallowed up the ground beneath them as Midnight relentlessly continued his rally. Like an express train, Midnight flew by his rivals, until he had one left to go, with less that a sixteenth to go. The announcer was screaming as Midnight, still came driving home, streaking under the wire, in a photo finish that left the once screaming crowd, dead silent.
Nick rode back to Brad and Eliza, who stood at the gap, who both looked deathly pale from the sight they had just witnessed. Nick dismounted as soon as he reached the gap, and as soon as his feet hit the ground he heard the crowd erupted in an explosion of cheers. Looking back a the board he saw, the impossible. After the near disaster that could have left both him and Midnight dead, the number revealed Midnight had won.