Midnight Bisou has dominated the older filly and mare division all year and headlines the pre-entries for this year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). In all, 12 females have pre-entered the race that holds a purse of $2,000,000. The event will be contested over 1 1/8 miles on Saturday, November 2, at Santa Anita Park.
Midnight Bisou has been flawless this season, winning all seven starts. Last year, she finished her campaign with a strong third in the Distaff behind Monomoy Girl, the 3-year-old champion filly. Turns out, Midnight Bisou was just getting warmed up. After winning the Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (G3) and the Azeri Stakes (G2) to start 2019, she rattled off back-to-back Grade 1 scores in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park and the Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park. After taking the Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park, Midnight Bisou won what might be the race of the year: she battled with Elate the length of the stretch and just edged clear by a nose in the Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. In her final prep for this event, she was once again victorious, taking the Beldame Stakes (G2) by 3 1/4 lengths.
Her main challenge could come from familiar foe Blue Prize, who was fourth in the Distaff last season, just behind Midnight Bisou. After a few on-the-board finishes to start the year, Blue Prize came alive in her last two starts. The first came at Saratoga, where she was triumphant in the Summer Colony Stakes by a nose over Vexatious. Last time out, she was able to capture the Spinster Stakes (G1) for the second straight year at Keeneland, this time beating tough competition like Elate and Dunbar Road. Known for running her best races in the state of Kentucky, this will be her first start on the west coast.
One pre-entry who won’t have any problems with racing at Santa Anita Park is Paradise Woods, who is coming off of a victory over the local track last time out in the Zenyatta Stakes (G2). All five career wins have come here, including graded stakes victories in the Zenyatta Stakes (twice), the Santa Margarita Stakes (G2), and the Santa Anita Oaks (G1). She changed hands during the winter to trainer John Shirreffs, with the idea that he could teach her to relax early in her races. That goal has been achieved, and she has proven to be ultra-dangerous when she shows up with her top effort.
As always, the 3-year-olds will have something to stay about this race. After Monomoy Girl took home a victory last year, a slew of sophomore fillies will take their shot at mimicking her this season. Leading the charge is Dunbar Road, who finished a close third in the Spinster last time out against older company after winning the Alabama Stakes (G1) and the Mother Goose Stakes (G2) over fillies her own age. Trainer Chad Brown has kept her in longer races throughout her young career, which suggests that she loves going two turns. She has yet to finish off the board in six starts.
The hottest 3-year-old coming into the event is Street Band, who won the Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx last time out over the highly-regarded Guarana by 2 1/4 lengths. The win, her fourth this season, followed similar triumphs in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) at Fair Grounds and the Indiana Oaks (G3) at Indiana Grand. Much like Dunbar Road, this filly seems to be well-suited for longer two-turn races.
When talking about 3-year-olds, it is impossible not to mention the Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress, who has been solid all year despite not picking up a win since. She ran too well to lose in both the Acorn Stakes (G1) and the Test Stakes (G1), while a tough inside trip cost her all chance in the Cotillion. The daughter of Alternation will be going 1 1/8 miles for the first time since winning in Kentucky.
The other pre-entries include Elate (second preference), La Force, Mo See Cal, Ollie’s Candy, Secret Spice, and Wow Cat