Champion Midnight Bisou, who would have been the top draw in Sunday’s Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, is now out following her Monday work at Saratoga. The Steve Asmussen trainee will still ship to the Bluegrass, but for an examination by Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital.
Co-owner Jeff Bloom broke the news:
Midnight Bisou had an easy routine maintenance breeze this morning at Saratoga. Our champion mare was a bit “off” after cooling out. Out of an abundance of caution she will be sent to Dr. Larry Bramlage in Lexington, KY for a full evaluation. @BloomRacing pic.twitter.com/gSlbSK9uDR
— Jeffrey Bloom (@JRBloom3) September 28, 2020
Coming off a narrow loss as the defending champion in the Aug. 1 Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga, Midnight Bisou was working regularly at the Spa in the interim. Her move on the Oklahoma training track Monday was a typical half-mile in :50.15 to polish off her preparations.
Midnight Bisou was planning to use the Spinster as her stepping stone to a third crack at the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Third to champion Monomoy Girl in the 2018 edition at Churchill Downs, when both were 3-year-olds, Midnight Bisou won her next seven in a row to go off as the even-money favorite in the 2019 Distaff at Santa Anita. But she found it a hard slog on the deep surface and had to settle for second to Blue Prize.
At that time, her ownership group – Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables, and Allen Racing – had just decided to withdraw Midnight Bisou from the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Sale and continue to race her as a 5-year-old.
The landslide winner of the Eclipse Award as champion older dirt female, Midnight Bisou returned in the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29. She validated connections’ faith with a terrific second to fellow champion Maximum Security.
Back in action stateside in the June 27 Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill, Midnight Bisou galloped by 8 1/4 lengths in the Distaff “Win and You’re In.” The Personal Ensign was also a Challenge race for the Distaff, and Vexatious dug in to earn her ticket by a neck from the 3-10 favorite.
The defection of Midnight Bisou is the latest blow to a Spinster that could have been exceptionally deep. Monomoy Girl and Vexatious are both training up to the Distaff, according to Daily Racing Form, and Swiss Skydiver opted to tackle males in Saturday’s Preakness (G1). As of this writing, Kentucky Oaks (G1) upsetter Shedaresthedevil and California-based Grade 1 veteran Ollie’s Candy appear to be the likely headliners in the “Win and You’re In.”
Midnight Bisou, who’s bankrolled $7,471,520 from a 22-13-6-3 record, is set to sell at this year’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Elite Sales will consign her along with old rival Monomoy Girl at the Nov. 8 auction, one day after the Distaff.