Bloom Racing Stable LLC and Allen Racing LLC’s Midnight Bisou took full advantage of Dream Tree’s absence in Saturday’s $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park to record a 2 1/4-length win under jockey Mike Smith.
The Bill Spawr-trained filly just missed by a nose in her initial two starts to Dream Tree, including the Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar on November 18, before breaking her maiden last out in the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) while making her sophomore bow on January 7.
The pair were supposed to face off in the Santa Ysabel, but Dream Tree scratched from the 1 1/16-mile contest when rain showers produced an off track.
That left Midnight Bisou to easily romp here as the 2-5 favorite. The dark bay miss tracked in third as Spring Lily set the pace, then glided up over the wet-fast, sealed surface to take command on the outside. She sailed home to stop the clock in 1:41.10 and return $2.60 for the win.
The Santa Ysabel is part of the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks and awarded 50-20-10-5 points to the respective top four finishers. Midnight Bisou now boasts 60 total points thanks to the winner’s share here and the 10 she earned for taking the Santa Ynez last out.
Thirteen Squared was fourth behind Dream Tree in the Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) last out and bumped her total up to 21 points for finishing second here. It was eight lengths back to Spring Lily, who was facing winners for the first time after breaking her maiden on February 4 and makes her bow on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard with 10 points. Sweetsongofthenile also debuts on the Leaderboard with five points after running fourth, seven lengths in front last-place finisher One Fast Broad.
Midnight Bisou improved her scorecard to 4-2-2-0, $210,000, with this win, which also boosted her to the top of the Oaks Leaderboard.
Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds, she is out of the Grade 3-scoring Repent mare Diva Delite and comes from the same female family as Grade 1 vixen 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).