SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The nation’s top-ranked thoroughbred according to the most recent NTRA Poll, Midnight Bisou returns to Saratoga to defend her 2019 title in Saturday’s $500,000 Personal Ensign Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).
Should she succeed, Midnight Bisou would become the fourth horse in history to win the Personal Ensign twice, joining the likes of Beautiful Pleasure (1999-2000), Lie Low (1974-75), and Politely (1967-68).
The winner of the Personal Ensign will receive an automatic position in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff (G1) this fall at Keeneland. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
The Personal Ensign is a 1 1/8-mile dirt route restricted to fillies and mares ages 3 and up that attracted a field of six for the 2020 edition.
Let’s take a look at the full field:
#1 Abounding Joy – After a career spent mostly sprinting, she was a resounding victor last time out in the Iowa Distaff while stretching out to 1 1/16 miles to record her first score routing. This will be the farthest that she has ever raced, but her sire, Quality Road, won the Woodward Stakes (G1) over this course and distance in 2010, so she should have little trouble navigating it.
#2 Motion Emotion – She makes her Spa debut riding a three-race runner-up streak that includes being the closest one behind Midnight Bisou in the Fleur de Lis (G2) last time out. While that was the better of her two prior starts at this distance, she won last November’s Zia Park Oaks and was second, beaten 1 length, in the 2019 Fantasy Stakes (G3); both races were held at 1 1/16 miles.
#3 Midnight Bisou – She won seven straight to start 2019, including taking this event by a nose after enduring a thrilling stretch battle with Elate. She punched her ticket to this year’s Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff with a dominating 8 1/4-length victory in the Fleur de Lis (G2) last time out, she has never finished outside the top three in 21 career starts, and at age 5, she seems to be running better than ever.
#4 Vexatious – She came within a neck of winning last year’s Summer Colony Stakes over this same course and distance, just missing behind the season’s eventual Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff champion Blue Prize. Though she has just 1 victory from 11 prior dirt starts, she was most recently second behind the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff victor Monomoy Girl in the Ruffian Stakes (G2) on the Belmont Park dirt.
#5 Bossy Bride – Her current connections nabbed her for $40k at auction in January but risked her for $25k two months later when she defeated her rivals by over 13 lengths at Aqueduct. Her most recent effort was a 3-length off-turf score while going 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy Belmont Park surface, so sharp bettors will bump up her stock if the skies open above Saratoga.
#6 Point of Honor – She rallied strongly to come within a nose of victory last time out in the 1 1/16-mile Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, another Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff qualifier. She succeeded at this slightly longer distance last year, winning the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) and finishing second, beaten 1 length, in the CCA Oaks (G1) over the local strip.
The Personal Ensign Stakes serves as race 5 on the Saturday card at Saratoga that features five stakes total, including the $750,000 Whitney Stakes (G1), a qualifier for the Longines Classic.
The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue this weekend at Del Mar, with one challenge race each day: the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) (Sprint) on Saturday and the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) (Longines Distaff) on Sunday.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is presented by America’s Best Racing.