Midnight Bisou Seeks Third Graded Win in Santa Anita Oaks

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

April 5th, 2018

Sweet Catomine. Rags to Riches. Stardom Bound. Beholder. Stellar Wind. Songbird.

Those are just a few of the talented fillies that have won the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) at Santa Anita over the last fifteen years, and while only time will tell if any of the nine fillies in Saturday’s renewal of the race will achieve a similar level of fame, on paper they look like a promising group with a chance to have an impact in the upcoming Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.

First and foremost is Midnight Bisou, a two-time graded stakes winner hailing from the barn of trainer William Spawr. The daughter of Midnight Lute lost her first two starts by the combined margin of about a head, then broke through with a convincing romp in the seven-furlong Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, drawing off in the final furlong to win by 4 ½ lengths.

Midnight Bisou subsequently proved her ability to handle the 8.5-furlong distance of the Santa Anita Oaks by parlaying a pace-tracking trip into a clear-cut victory in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III). She has trained well since then and should be poised for another sharp run on Saturday with regular rider Mike Smith in the saddle.

Her main competition could come from Spectator, who won the Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) last summer before going to the sidelines following a third-place finish in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I). Trained by Philip D’Amato, Spectator recently returned to action with a hard-fought allowance win sprinting 6 ½ furlongs against older rivals on March 18th at Santa Anita, prevailing by a neck after a prolonged battle for command. The Santa Anita Oaks will mark her first start beyond seven furlongs, but her exceptional sprinting speed could help secure the lead and take this field a long way on the front end.

Thriteen Squared and Spring Lily, second and third in the Santa Ysabel after dueling for the lead, could also be pace factors in this competitive race, along with the speedy maiden winner We All Have Dreams and the recent Santa Anita allowance winner First Dudette. Rounding out the field are Finesse Bere, who switches to dirt after three stakes tries on turf for trainer ; Exuberance, runner-up in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita two months ago; and Fool’s Paradise, a maiden winner going 8.5 furlongs at Santa Anita two weeks ago.

The Santa Anita Oaks is the eleventh race of the day, with a projected post time of 7:30 p.m. Eastern.