LOUISVILLE, KY – Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables, and Allen Racing’s Midnight Bisou finally conquered Churchill Downs with a dominating performance in Saturday’s $200,000 Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2).
The Fleur de Lis is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Midnight Bisou receiving an automatic berth in the Longines Distaff at Keeneland this November.
Sent from post 5 under Mike Smith as the 1/2 favorite, Midnight Bisou sat back and settled well off the pace heading into the clubhouse turn. Up front, Serengeti Empress set a lengthy early advantage and posted opening fractions of :23.18, :46.15, and 1:09.74 while Motion Emotion gave closest chase.
Sensing that the leader was running a little too loose on the backstretch, Smith began moving Midnight Bisou forward and was clearly third as she rolled into the far turn. Sweeping past Motion Emotion in an instant, Midnight Bisou headed Serengeti Empress at the top of the stretch and quickly set off toward the wire.
Kicking away with her ears pricked, the Steve Asmussen trainee drew off impressively to win by 8 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:48.99 for the 1 1/8-mile fast main track event.
“She’s just an amazing mare,” Smith said. “I actually had took the lead a little before I wanted to. We were planning on laying a little bit closer, but the way Serengeti Empress was winging it on the front end, we were a little further back. She’s just incredibly special.”
Motion Emotion fought her way to finish second, while Another Broad nipped a fading Serengeti Empress for third. Red Dane, Go Google Yourself, and Chocolate Kisses completed the order of finish.
Midnight Bisou’s win was her first of the year and improved her overall record to 21-13-5-3 with $7,371,520 earned while winning for the first time from 3 attempts under the Twin Spires. The 5-year-old Midnight Lute mare was making her inaugural stateside appearance after finishing second against the world’s best dirt males in the $20 million Saudi Cup.
“She’s a really special mare,” Asmussen said. “To come back in that sort of style is just tremendous. She has such an amazing talent and such a great relationship with Mike. She beat a wonderful-looking group of mares. We have nothing but respect towards them.”
Midnight Bisou returned $3 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Motion Emotion brought back $10.20 to place and $5.20 to show, while Another Broad paid $5 to show.