March 23, 2019

Midnight Bisou rallies for Santa Anita Oaks triumph

Midnight Bisou and jockey Mike Smith win the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on Saturday, April 7, 2018, at Santa Anita Park © Benoit Photo

Midnight Bisou ran in the rear of the pack for much of Saturday’s $401,380 Santa Anita Oaks (G1) under jockey Mike Smith, but was in front when it mattered – on the wire.

Sent off the 3-5 favorite against eight rivals, the Midnight Lute filly found herself in the back of the field running wide with only Exuberance beat as Thirteen Squared led the way through fractions of :23.47, :47.63 and 1:12.04. We All Have Dreams tracked in second just off Thirteen Squared’s flank with Spectator and Finess Bere to her outside.

Thirteen Squared maintained the advantage nearing the final turn but Midnight Bisou suddenly hit overdrive and flew by the field on the outside. She easily collared the pacesetter in the lane and drew off to be 3 1/2 lengths clear on the wire.

Sent off the 3-5 favorite, Midnight Bisou paid $3.20 for the win and completed 1 1/16 miles over Santa Anita Park’s fast main track in 1:44.79.

The Santa Anita Oaks is part of the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series and was worth 100-40-20-10 points to the respective top four finishers. Midnight Bisou’s win saw the filly boost her total points toward a starting berth in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs to 160 and jump from fifth on the Oaks Leaderboard into the number one spot.

Spectator finished second, getting the best of Thirteen Squared by 3 1/2 lengths to take home 40 points for the Kentucky Oaks. However, the chestnut miss isn’t currently nominated to the race. Thirteen Squared is in 12th on the Oaks Leaderboard with 41 total points. Exuberance completed the top four, another seven lengths behind, and sits in 20th on the Leaderboard with 15 total points.

Fool’s Paradise filled the fifth spot and was followed under the wire by First Dudette, We All Have Dreams, Finess Bere and Spring Lily.

Midnight Bisou is now 5-3-2-0 in her career and more than doubled her lifetime earnings to $450,000. The Bill Spawr pupil dropped both of her initial two starts as a juvenile by a nose, including the Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar, then broke her maiden by 4 1/2 lengths when making her three-year-old bow in the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) on January 7. The dark bay lass returned last out in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) and stretched out to 1 1/16 miles over a wet-fast, sealed track to score by 2 1/4 lengths.

Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds and campaigned by Allen Racing LLC and Bloom Racing Stable LLC, Midnight Bisou is out of the Grade 3-winning Repent mare Diva Delite. This is the same female family as Grade 1 heroine Pirate’s Revenge.

SANTA ANITA OAKS QUOTES

Mike Smith, jockey Midnight Bisou, winner

“She’s special, I’m telling you. Although she was probably a little farther back than anyone expected, it was almost…I’m not going to compare it to riding Zenyatta, but I used to be way back there and I wasn’t worried because I knew that she could catch them. She gives me that great turn of foot, and I want to give her something to run at or she’ll put the air brakes on.

“(Coming out of the gate) she set me in the rumble seat. I had to get back on her for a jump.”

On winning the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Oaks

“I was very fortunate today. I just put the weight on those two – there wasn’t a whole lot of riding.”

Bill Spawr, trainer Midnight Bisou, winner

“My blood pressure is just heightened. I said up there I wasn’t sure because they were going so slow I didn’t think she could close. It’s awesome. She has just improved so much and I want to give all of the owners the credit. It just takes so much patience. She has kept surprising us all.”

Jeff Bloom of Bloom Racing Stable, co-owner Midnight Bisou, winner

“I am shaking. I’m speechless. I just won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. I think she is (the best filly in the country). I know this much, she’s a good one. (Jockey) Mike (Smith) looked like he was very comfortable with her where he was and when he started asking her, I could see that she started motoring and I felt pretty good.

“I don’t even know how I feel about the Kentucky Oaks because you don’t think of it that way until you do. But now it’s a reality and I’m living it, enjoying it and pinching myself constantly.”