Dream Tree handed Midnight Bisou her only two narrow losses to date last year, and on Saturday the pair continue their rivalry in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
The two fillies are separated by eight spots on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard, with Dream Tree in fourth and Midnight Bisou reclining in 12th. The Santa Ysabel is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series and is worth 50-20-10-5 points to the respective top four runners, which could create some distance between the duo.
Midnight Bisou was sent off at 21-1 in her maiden debut but nearly got the best of 4-5 favorite Dream Tree when just a nose behind on the Santa Anita wire. The same scenario played out in the Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar next out, with even-money favorite Dream Tree holding by a nose over Midnight Bisou at 2-1.
That latter filly was given a couple months off but trainer Bob Baffert sent Dream Tree out on December 9 to record a 3 1/4-length victory in the Starlet Stakes (G1) going the Santa Ysabel distance of 1 1/16 miles at Los Alamitos. The Uncle Mo filly earned a career- and field-best 94 BRIS Speed rating for that win, and made her sophomore bow a 3 3/4-length triumph in the Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) cutting back to a mile at Santa Anita on February 4.
Midnight Bisou returned in 2018 last out on January 7 at Santa Anita, romping by 4 1/2 lengths in the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) for trainer Bill Spawr. The Midnight Lute miss was awarded a career-best 93 BRIS Speed rating for that effort.
Regular rider Drayden Van Dyke has the call on Dream Tree while Mike Smith retains the mount on Midnight Bisou.
Spring Lily makes her second start for trainer John Shirreffs in the Santa Ysabel, which is also her stakes debut. The Union Rags lass finished seventh when beginning her career with trainer Cliff Sise Jr. at Del Mar last November, but broke her maiden for Shirreffs last out on February 4 by five lengths at Santa Anita. The chestnut lass had Evin Romans aboard for that first score and keeps the jockey in the irons on Saturday.
One Fast Broad takes on graded rivals here after scoring a pair of stakes wins and placing in three other black-type events, including the California Cup Oaks to kick off her sophomore campaign just two weeks ago on February 19. Owner/trainer Mick Ruis wheels the Decarchy filly back for this contest and tabs Geovanni Franco to ride.
Thirteen Squared was fourth in the Las Virgenes, just one race after wiring her maiden by 6 3/4 lengths at Los Alamitos. Tyler Baze was aboard for both those efforts and holds the reins for the Santa Ysabel as well.
Sweetsongofthenile tries conventional dirt for the first time in this spot after beginning her career on turf for trainer Aaron West and then switching to Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic Tapeta in her past two starts for conditioner Ed Moger Jr. The Pioneerof the Nile last broke her maiden on January 6 at Golden Gate and finished fourth last out in the California Oaks. Flavien Prat has the call for the first time here.