War Chant colt strikes on Friday Night

Incoming Yarradale Stud shuttler War Chant is poised for another stakes winning weekend in North America.

War Chant’s classic colt Midnight Interlude will make his turf debut in the Listed Tsunami Slew Stakes (1600m) at Hollywood Park on Friday night for trainer Bob Baffert.

And his iron-horse Chamberlain Bridge tops a strong field of sprinters in the Listed Parx Dash at Philadelphia on Saturday.

Yarradale Stud proprietor Ron Sayers has secured the lifetime southern breeding rights to War Chant.  He is a proven sire of stakes winners and is a son of Danzig from Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Hollywood Wildcat.  “

Midnight Interlude (3c War Chant – Midnight Kiss by Groom Dancer) is back home in California after unplaced runs in the G1 Kentucky Derby and G1 Preakness Stakes.  

He was a G1 winner of the Santa Anita Stakes in April and has been installed a $3 favourite for his first start back in California since a disappointing classic campaign.

Baffert decided to skip the Belmont Stakes but Friday night’s race isn’t a gimme.  The Listed event has also drawn two turf stakes winners – Surrey Star & Extensive – plus the sharp allowance winners War Pilot & Temple’s Door.

Midnight Interlude will race without blinkers for the first time.  He warmed up for his return back home with an 800m workout in 50.80s at Santa Anita last Sunday morning.

“I still don’t know why he didn’t run better back east,” Baffert said.  “I’ve been trying to get him to relax and come from off the pace.  And, hopefully, he will take to turf on Friday night.”

Midnight Interlude is a homebred for Arnold Zetcher and he has a turf pedigree top and bottom.  War Chant won the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile and his dam is the New Zealand-bred mare Midnight Kiss.

Chamberlain Bridge tops a field of nine turf sprinters in the $200,000 Parx Dash (1000m) in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The Bret Calhoun-trained gelding is racing as well as ever.  He resumed with a Listed victory in the Rail Splitter Stakes at Sam Houston in February but was compromised by soft going in the G3 Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland in April and the G3 Turf Sprint on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Chamberlain Bridge (7g War Chant – She’s Got Class by Trempolino) is a Philadelphia specialist having won that track’s Turf Monster Hcp in 2009 and 2010.

The Turf Monster was among five stakes races won by Chamberlain Bridge last year culminating with a G2 victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.

Calhoun said the gelding’s style of racing has changed as he’s gotten older.  “He’s settles back a lot more now.  He was up on the pace in the Shakertown Stakes but Keeneland was a bog that day.”

Churchill Downs was also unkind on Derby day.  Jockey Jamie Theriot reported the ground was breaking out from underneath him down the back stretch.  “Chamberlain Bridge just couldn’t get his feet underneath him,” Calhoun recalled.  “He went wide looking for firmer ground and made a run.  But it was just too late.”

War Chant will stand for a $22,000 (inc gst) fee at Yarradale this year.