HOUSTON, TX – Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables, and Allen Racing’s Midnight Bisou made an impressive return to the track on Sunday when a perfectly-timed riden allowed her to get up in the shadow of the wire and take the Grade 3, $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.
Breaking from the far outside post 7 under Mike Smith as the prohibitive 1/5 favorite, Midnight Bisou soon took back and settled while still within striking range of early leader Heavenhasmynikki through opening fractions of :24.68, :49.29, and 1:13.38. Slowly advancing through the far turn, Smith tipped Midnight Bisou out to run three-wide for the run home, and the Steve Asmussen trainee responded alertly. Closing rapidly inside the final furlong, Midnight Bisou usurped Heavenhasmynikki and Moonlit Garden just before crossing the wire with a 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:44.52 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track.
“I certainly didn’t mean to make it so close,” Smith said. “We were six, seven-wide early, so I dropped her back. The two fillies in front of her ran a huge race. Once she got going, her best movement was probably two strides past the wire.”
Though caught late, Moonlit Garden won the hard-fought battle for second, besting Heavenhasmynikki by a neck. Remedy was never a threat despite being the 7/2 second choice and finished fourth, while Prado’s Sweet Ride and Viva Forever completed the order of finish. Song From Above was scratched.
Midnight Bisou’s win, her first since taking the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes last September, came on the heels of a respectable third last out in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The 4-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute now sports a record of 12-6-3-3 with $1,745,000 in earnings.
“It was a little closer than we liked, but she got the job done,” said Jeff Bloom, who purchased Midnight Bisou for $80,000 as an unraced juvenile. “This was a great spot that Steve had picked out to ease her back for her 4-year-old campaign. When I was saw her this morning and in the paddock before the race, I was very pleased. Steve has her looking spectacular.”
Midnight Bloom returned $2.40 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Moonlit Garden brought back $9.20 to place and $6 to show, while Heavenhasmynikki paid $8.40 to show.