December 5, 2023

Midnight Bisou – 2019 Champion Older Dirt Female

Midnight Bisou and jockey John Velazquez capture the Beldame Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on Saturday, September 28, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand

A nearly perfect season ensured that Midnight Bisou would be voted champion older dirt female. Indeed, despite her winning skein coming to an end in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), the Steve Asmussen mare still received one vote for Horse of the Year. Stablemate Mitole, feted as champion sprinter, was runner-up in the Horse of the Year balloting to the rampant Bricks and Mortar.

Midnight Bisou’s lifetime past performances courtesy of Brisnet

Midnight Bisou had advertised her talent in a high-caliber sophomore season, but she upped her game to championship level in 2019. The Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables, and Allen Racing runner got back to work in the Jan. 27 Houston Ladies’ Classic (G3), where her class overcame a less than ideal trip behind a slow pace. She next swept Oaklawn Park’s marquee events for distaffers. Toppling Elate in the Azeri (G2), Midnight Bisou outdueled a scrappy Escape Clause in the Apple Blossom H. (G1) and left Elate back in third.

Even better was to come in the Ogden Phipps (G1) on Belmont Day, as Midnight Bisou motored to a stakes-record time of 1:39.69 for the 1 1/16-mile affair. There was a little more suspense in the Molly Pitcher (G3), only because of her being bottled up for a time, but the 1-20 favorite got the job done comfortably enough to prolong her skein.

The Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga promised to be a barnburner between Midnight Bisou and Elate, who was now in peak form and at a more suitable 9-furlong trip for their rematch. Elate did put up a much stiffer fight than at Oaklawn, but Midnight Bisou still prevailed in an epic photo to make it six straight.

After running her 2019 record to 7-0 in the Beldame Invitational (G2), Midnight Bisou ranked as the even-money favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She’d already been stirring Horse of the Year conversation, and depending upon how Bricks and Mortar and Mitole fared in their respective Breeders’ Cup events, she could have advanced her claims with a crowning victory.

As it turned out, Midnight Bisou could not complete a perfect campaign in the Distaff. The daughter of Midnight Lute traveled as though struggling to gain traction early on the Santa Anita surface. She tried resolutely while having to settle for second to Blue Prize. Comparing their overall body of work for the season, however, voters stuck by Midnight Bisou, and Blue Prize’s fall push wasn’t enough to gain the Eclipse.

Midnight Bisou has bankrolled $3.75 million from her 19-12-4-3 career line. As a 3-year-old, she captured the Cotillion (G1) (via the disqualification of champion Monomoy Girl), Mother Goose (G2), Santa Anita Oaks (G1), Santa Ynez (G2), and Santa Ysabel (G3), and placed in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Kentucky Oaks (G1), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), and Alabama (G1).

The $19,000 Keeneland September RNA, and $80,000 OBS April juvenile purchase, has come a long way. The daughter of Grade 3-winning Repent mare Diva Delite was bred by Woodford Thoroughbreds in Kentucky.

Initially slated to sell at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky’s November Sale, Midnight Bisou was instead withdrawn so that connections could keep her in training in 2020. The $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29 is next, and a mouthwatering clash with newly minted champion 3-year-old male Maximum Security and older dirt male finalist McKinzie.

Blue Prize 31