Allen Racing LLC and Bloom Racing Stable LLC’s Midnight Bisou had no trouble securing her second straight stakes victory on Saturday when drawing off for a 2 1/4-length win in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
The dark bay daughter of Midnight Lute broke from post 3 and tracked the pace in third as Spring Lily moved up from her 2 post to lead the way. Thirteen Squared settled just off the pacesetter’s flank as she established splits of :23.26, :47.01 and 1:11.10 over the wet-fast, sealed track.
Meanwhile, jockey Mike Smith kept Midnight Bisou well off the inside down the backstretch before giving her the cue to run nearing the turn. Thirteen Squared took over rounding the bend but Midnight Bisou closed fast and drew even entering the lane. Smith gave his mount a tap with the whip and the sophomore miss pulled clear of Thirteen Squared to cross under the wire in a final time of 1:41.10.
Midnight Bisou was sent off the near 2-5 favorite and returned $2.60 for the win. She was awarded not only with the winner’s share of the purse, which boosted her career earnings to $210,000, but also with 50 points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 4.
The Santa Ysabel is part of the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series and offered up 50-20-10-5 points to the respective top four finishers. Midnight Bisou now sits on top of the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard with 60 total points.
Thirteen Squared finished second, eight lengths up on Spring Lily. It was another 4 1/2 lengths back to Sweetsongofthenile, who had seven lengths to spare on last-place finisher One Fast Broad.
Undefeated Dream Tree was entered in the Santa Ysabel but scratched when rain produced an off track.
Midnight Bisou is now 4-2-2-0 in her career, having just missed to Dream Tree by a nose in her first two starts, including the Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar in her juvenile finale on November 18. The Bill Spawr trainee returned January 7 to make her sophomore bow in the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) and broke her maiden in that seven-furlong contest by 4 1/2 lengths.
She returned here for a showdown with Dream Tree, but found an easy score waiting with the scratch of that rival.
Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds, 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 YSABEL QUOTES
Mike Smith, jockey Midnight Bisou, winner
“This was a test of two turns and she passed it with an ‘A plus.’ I’m getting to know her more and more. I was a bit concerned warming up today. I thought she might be a little too keen early on but then she settled really nicely and she did everything better than I expected going into a two turn race. She’s getting better even faster than I thought she would.
“I didn’t really know what to expect today. I watched her first two races and she was so far back and then I rode her and I was much closer but I didn’t know what that race was going to look like. Of course, she ran honest, she ran very well that day. And then today, she was a bit aggressive warming up.
“I hoped she wasn’t going to be too aggressive and get hooked up early on into a head and head speed duel. She relaxed so well though going into that first turn and took everything so much better than expected. She won well within herself and I didn’t have to get after her at all. I just asked her with my hands at the top of the stretch to just inside the eighth pole but that was pretty much it.”
Bill Spawr, trainer Midnight Bisiou, winner
“I wasn’t concerned about the distance. No matter where you put her, she’s going to try. She’s push button. We’re looking at the ($400,000) Santa Anita Oaks (G1) next (on April 7).
When asked his thoughts about her going two turns for the first time, especially in the last half-mile
“I thought she had ’em. When you press on her and you ask her, she just kicks it (in)…She’s that good. It’s not the surface.”
Jeff Bloom, co-owner Midnight Bisou, winner
“Wow, she answered every question today. She handled the off track, she handled two turns and she did it with a hand ride. We’ll check with Bill, but we plan to run in the (Santa Anita) Oaks here and then the ($1 million) Kentucky Oaks ([G1] on May 4).