Atlantic Rainbow is being bred in 2017 to Midnight Lute (Real Quiet x Candytuft, by Dehere; $20,000 LFSN at Hill ‘N’ Dale)
Midnight Lute will be Atlantic Rainbow’s mate for 2017, and he meets the same three major criteria that led us to pick Graydar for her last year: (1) his sire-line has had success with Storm Cat-line mares; (2) Atlantic Rainbow’s female family has crossed effectively with stallions from his sire-line; and (3) he is endowed with substantial height and length, an infusion of which will benefit Atlantic Rainbow’s foal.
In addition, Midnight Lute brings to the table a proven track record at stud and demonstrated his soundness in a four-year, thirteen-start racetrack campaign.
Midnight Lute broke his maiden in his only start at 2-years-old, going 6 furlongs at Del Mar in July (despite being a May foal). He was off almost exactly a year before his second race, in which he finished 2nd, and he then scored back-to-back victories in a 7-furlong Del Mar allowance and the Grade 3 Perryville Stakes over Keeneland’s Polytrack (the latter by five lengths in track record time). Third in the Grade 1 Malibu to close out his sophomore season, Midnight Lute was 2nd in the Grade 2 San Fernando going 1-1/16 miles in his first 4-year-old start, beaten just a nose. He followed that up with 4th-place finishes in the Grade 2 Strub and the Grade 2 Commonwealth Stakes before hitting the sidelines for five more months.
Midnight Lute’s comeback race saw him earn his first Grade 1 victory in Saratoga’s 7-furlong Forego Stakes (earning a gaudy Beyer Speed Figure of 124), and he followed that up with a devastating five-length score in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Monmouth. He closed out his season with a troubled 2nd in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, but his two top level victories were enough to clinch the Eclipse Champion Sprinter title.
Instead of retiring, Midnight Lute raced on as a 5-year-old. He could only manage to finish 10th in his first start that season after a nine-month break, but that proved to be the perfect prep for another Breeders’ Cup Sprint score – this time at Santa Anita in a blazing 1:07.08, good for a new stakes record. Midnight Lute then retired to Hill ’N’ Dale with six wins in thirteen starts, and earnings of $2.6 million.
Midnight Lute’s first crop of runners reached the races in 2012, and has so far produced eleven stakes winners (good for 10% from foals), among them the Grade 1-winning pair of Shakin It Up and Midnight Lucky. His career total now stands at seventeen black-type winners, and after seeing the size of his foal crops shrink following a large first crop, as is fairly typical, Midnight Lute has 111 and 128 well-bred foals of 2014 and 2015, respectively, in the pipeline. This means he should be poised for big seasons at the races in 2017 and 2018 when those crops hit their stride. And in fact, his 2016 crop of 2-year-olds already included early-season stakes winner Runaway Lute, Del Mar Futurity-G1 3rd-place finisher Midnight Pleasure, and impressive debut winner Show Me Da Lute for trainer Bob Baffert.
The foal by Midnight Lute out of Atlantic Rainbow will be inbred 5×4 to Vice Regent and 5×5 to Secretariat. The inbreeding to Vice Regent is interesting given that no fewer than six of Midnight Lute’s stakes winners feature inbreeding to Deputy Minister – a son of Vice Regent – while his classic winner Midnight Aria is inbred 5×3 to Vice Regent himself.
TrueNicks rates the cross of Midnight Lute over Storm Cat-line mares an “A” as it has produced Grade 3 winners Govenor Charlie and Midnight Cello. And although she is only counted as a “winner” by TrueNicks, Midnight Lute’s daughter Pachangera, who is out of a Storm Cat mare, is a Grade 1 winner in Mexico.
Like Graydar last year, Midnight Lute traces in tail-male to Mr. Prospector’s son Fappiano (Midnight Lute is by Real Quiet, by Quiet American, by Fappiano), and Fappiano sired the Champion 2-year-old Comet Shine from Classic winner Hangin On a Star, who is closely related to Atlantic Rainbow’s dam, Rainbow’s Classic.
Another reason that we like the tall, lengthy Midnight Lute as a mate for the more compact Atlantic Rainbow is the versatility of his offspring. Although Midnight Lute himself was a champion sprinter, it is well-documented that it was a breathing issue which limited him to success in sprint races (he was still beaten just a nose at 1-1/16 miles), rather than pedigree or body-type, since both of those factors suggested Midnight Lute would have done his best running going two turns. It is unsurprising, then, that Midnight Lute’s offspring have had success sprinting as well as stretching out to classic distances. They also handle dirt, turf and all-weather surfaces with equal aplomb.
While Atlantic Rainbow herself never raced, runners from her female family have had most of their success running longer on turf, though some have sprinted and others have handled dirt. The turf and dirt versatility is shared by her own sire, Stormy Atlantic, though he tends to be more of a speed influence. Midnight Lute should be capable of complementing any of these proclivities nicely.