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Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude wins in turf debut

June 17, 2011 | 11:12 pm

After finishing 16th in the Kentucky Derby and 13th in the Preakness Stakes, Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude returned to form on Friday night at Hollywood Park in his turf debut, winning the $70,000 Tsunami Slew Stakes by a neck over Surrey Star.

Trainer Bob Baffert said he was baffled at Midnight Interlude's poor performances in the Triple Crown races, but he believed the 3-year-old son of War Chant would like turf racing, and he won the mile event in 1:35.12 under jockey Rafael Bejarano. Temple's Door finished third.

"I was really disappointed because he had trained so well for the Derby and Preakness," Baffert said. "I took the blinkers off because we're trying to teach him something. We rushed him right along, rushed him right into the Santa Anita Derby, but now we can sit back and start teaching him a little bit how to rate and finish up like he did tonight."

-- Eric Sondheimer