Second to last in a field of nine down the backstretch, the Midnight Lute filly surged past her rivals in the final turn of the 1 1/16-mile test at Santa Anita Park.
Midnight Bisou, dk b/br, 3/f
Midnight Lute — Diva Delite, by Repent
Owner: Bloom Racing Stable LLC or Allen Racing LLC
Breeder: Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC. (KY)
Trainer: William Spawr
Jockey: Mike E. Smith
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.
OBSAPR2017 • $80,000 • Consignor: Woodford Thoroughbreds, agent • Buyer: Jeffrey Bloom, agent.
KEESEP2016 • ($19,000 RNA) • Consignor: Woodford Thoroughbreds, agent.
By the time she reached the stretch, the result was a foregone conclusion. The Bill Spawr trainee owned by Allen Racing and Bloom Racing Stable breezed past her final two challengers—Spectator and Thirteen Squared—under jockey Mike Smith and pulled away to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:44.79.
"She's special—I'm telling you," said Smith, who won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) aboard Justify earlier on the Saturday card. "Although she was probably a little farther back than anyone expected, it was almost—I'm not going to compare her to Zenyatta, but I used to be way back there and I wasn't worried, because I knew that she could catch them."
Thirteen Squared easily made the lead after a clean break from post 9 and set fractions of :23.47, :47.63, and 1:12.04 through six furlongs. A half-mile into the race, Midnight Bisou was 8 1/4 lengths behind the leader, but during the next quarter-mile, she nearly cut that margin in half and advanced to fourth with a three-wide move.
"My blood pressure is just heightened," Spawr said. "I said up (in the grandstand) I wasn't sure, because they were going so slow, I didn't think she could close. It's awesome. She has just improved so much, and I want to give all of the owners so much credit. It just takes so much patience. She has kept surprising us all."
Although Midnight Bisou is riding a three-race win streak (all in graded stakes), she lost both of her starts as a 2-year-old by a nose to one-time Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) contender Dream Tree (who is now off the Oaks trail because of an undisclosed issue). However, those races were sprints, and she's thrived as the races have stretched out.
She took the Jan. 7 Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) by 4 1/2 lengths to start her 3-year-old season, then won the March 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) by 2 1/4 lengths in her two-turn debut.
"I am shaking. I'm speechless," said co-owner Jeff Bloom, who celebrated his first grade 1 win. "I just won the grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. I think she is (the best filly in the country). I know this much—she's a good one. Mike looked like he was very comfortable with her where he was, and when he asked her, I could see that she started motoring and I felt pretty good.
"I don't even know how I feel about the Kentucky Oaks, because you don't think of it that way until you do. But now it's a reality and I'm living it, enjoying it, and pinching myself constantly."
Grade 2 winner Spectator held second, another 3 1/2 lengths clear of Thirteen Squared, who was seven lengths ahead of fourth-place Exuberance. Fool's Paradise, First Dudette, We All Have Dreams, Finess Bere, and Spring Lily followed to complete the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds, out of the Repent mare Diva Delite, Midnight Bisou now has $450,000 in earnings. She was an $80,000 purchase by Bloom out of the Ocala Breeders' Sales spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.
VIDEO: SANTA ANITA OAKS (G1)