By Richard Rosenblatt
Midnight Bisou is all set to take on a global field in her quest for a perfect season in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
The sensational 4-year-old filly was made the overwhelming 6-5 favorite at Monday’s post-position draw for all 14 Breeders’ Cup races. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bisou – 7-0 in 2019 — drew the No. 4 post in a field of 11 going 1 1/8 miles.
Among her challengers are Blue Prize from Argentina, a 6-year-old mare who defeated BC Classic entrant Elate in the Spinster (G1), La Force from Germany and Wow Cat from Chile.
Paradise Woods, winner of the Zenyatta (G1) in her most recent race, is the 5-1 second choice for California-based trainer John Shirreffs.
No matter. This is Midnight Bisou’s chance to claim Horse of the Year honors with a victory.
“She’s just starting to blossom and she’s only four,’’ marveled Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who will be aboard Midnight Bisou once again.
This year, Midnight Bisou has three Grade 1 wins at three different tracks – the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn, the Ogden Phipps at Belmont and the Personal Ensign at Saratoga.
In her most recent start, the daughter of Midnight Lute won the Beldame (G2) by 3 ¼ lengths with John Velazquez subbing for Smith, who has ridden the filly in 14 of her 18 races.
Owned by Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing, Midnight Bisou posted her final workout Monday – cruising four furlongs in 50.80 seconds at Santa Anita.
Currently, Midnight Bisou is ranked No. 2 in the NTRA’s Top 10 poll, with Bricks and Mortar (5-0) at No. 1 going into the BC Turf.
The Distaff is the 10th race on Saturday’s card, two races before the Classic.
2Ollie’s CandyJohn SadlerJoel Rosario15/1
|1||Paradise Woods||John Shirreffs||Abel Cedillo||5/1|
|3||Street Band||J. Larry Jones||Sophie Doyle||10/1|
|4||Midnight Bisou||Steve Asmussen||Mike Smith||6/5|
|5||Dunbar Road||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz||6/1|
|6||Wow Cat (CHI)||Chad Brown||Irad Ortiz||15/1|
|7||Secret Spice||Richard Baltas||John Velazquez||10/1|
|8||La Force (GER)||Paddy Gallagher||Drayden Van Dyke||30/1|
|9||Serengeti Empress||Tom Amoss||Flavien Prat||12/1|
|10||Mo See Cal||Peter Miller||Paco Lopez||30/1|
|11||Blue Prize (ARG)||Ignacio Correas IV||Joe Bravo||6/1|
Over the years while working at The Associated Press, Rich Rosenblatt became a familiar name to legions of the horse racing fans and industry insiders with his award-winning articles on horse racing and his stories from the backstretch.
In addition to being an astute observer of sports, Rosenblatt is the co-author of The All-American Chili Cookbook. His work has been seen in just about every publication in the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time Magazine.