What a weekend we had between Belmont Park and Churchill Downs! Two of the best in their respective divisions officially punched their tickets, while a former Breeders’ Cup champion showed that she is back at the top of her game. All things considered, here’s who made our Three Stars of the Week:
1. Tom’s d’Etat
Any questions about whether or not new jockey Miguel Mena could handle Tom’s d’Etat were quickly answered as he steered him to a performance in the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) that was so strong, he missed matching the track record by 0.02 seconds. The 6/5 favorite sat very close to the early pace, then made his move in the far turn to easily take the lead. Mena never moved while Tom’s d’Etat cruised home by 4 1/4 lengths over the highly-regarded By My Standards. The Al Stall, Jr.,
2. Midnight Bisou
Just one race prior, Steve Asmussen saddled Midnight Bisou in the Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2) for her first start since finishing a narrow second in late February’s $20 million Saudi Derby. Mike Smith piloted her expertly, making a mid-race move from the middle of the pack to close the gap on a loose leader. That move carried her through the far turn and sent her home alone up front. She never got into high gear before winning handily and earning her place in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at the end of the year. The ultra-powerful mare looks better than ever.
The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) champion seems to be back at the top of her game in 2020 after a lackluster winless season last year. Her latest triumph came in Saturday’s Just a Game Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, when she wired a field that included last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Uni, her Chad Brown stablemate. Newspaperofrecord’s win made it four straight for Brown, who seems to have her pointing back in the right direction after showing such tremendous promise as a juvenile.