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Midnight Bisou Stays Hot, Wins G2 Beldame Stakes

by New York Racing Association Press Release

September 28, 2019

ELMONT, N.Y. - Midnight Bisou continued to build on a sensational 4-year-old campaign when drawing away from Wow Cat in the final furlong to win Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Beldame by 3 1/4 lengths over the fast main track at Belmont Park.

The talented dark bay daughter of Midnight Lute, who improved to 7-for-7 this year, arrived at the 1 1/8-mile event for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward off a dramatic victory in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti, where she dueled at the top of the Saratoga stretch with Elate and getting a nose better of the dual Grade 1 winner last month.

Sent off as the overwhelming mutuel favorite at 1-9 odds in the Beldame, Midnight Bisou broke sharply from the rail to the inside of 48-1 longshot Spring in the Wind, who led the tightly bunched five-horse field through an opening quarter-mile of 24.83 seconds with last year's Beldame victor Wow Cat just to their outside in third.

With the half-mile in 48.09 seconds, Midnight Bisou began inching her way up under no asking from Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez and took command approaching the far turn. As Spring in the Wind gave way, Wow Cat challenged Midnight Bisou at the top of the stretch with the two fillies on even terms at the eighth-pole. But Midnight Bisou displayed her superiority and hit the wire first in final time of 1:48.86.

Crimson Frost finished another 5 1/4 lengths back in third followed by Another Broad and Spring in the Wind. Vexatious was scratched.

Owned by Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stable and Allen Racing and trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bisou added to an impressive 2019 ledger which includes Grade 1 wins in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park, the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park and the Personal Ensign at Saratoga.

The victory was a first Beldame win for Asmussen and a fourth for Velazquez, who guided Yanks Music (1996), Ashado (2004) and Life At Ten (2010) to their respective Beldame wins.

"It was pretty easy for her," Velazquez said. "I didn't have to do very much, just keep her out of trouble, and she did what she had to do. I didn't have to hit her or anything. I just showed her the whip, and let her know she had to run. That was it."

Velazquez picked up the mount from Midnight Bisou's regular rider, Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who is in California scheduled to ride McKinzie in the Grade 1, $300,000 Awesome Again at Santa Anita.

"She's a much better horse this year. She wasn't as consistent last year," Velazquez said. "After talking to Mike [Smith], when I rode her in the Breeders' Cup, he said, 'She's not too crazy about the track at Churchill Downs, anyway.' She came back this year and hasn't run bad yet."

Asmussen's assistant trainer Scott Blasi saddled Midnight Bisou for Saturday's race and was pleased with the way the filly continues to dominate the older filly and mare division.

"You're always a little worried drawing the one-hole in short fields, but I thought Johnny [Velazquez] rode her great and did a terrific job riding her to the wire," Blasi said. "She proved to be the best. She's just been an amazing horse this year. The way she's developed this year, she's turned a corner going from 3 to 4, and it's exciting. She's been training great since the Personal Ensign and hopefully we can just keep her happy going forward."

Midnight Bisou's likely next start will take place in the Grade 1, $2 million Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff on November 2 at Santa Anita. She finished third in last year's Distaff which was contested at Churchill Downs.

Returning $2.30 for a $2 win bet, Midnight Bisou cashed $165,000 from her Beldame triumph pushing her lifetime earnings up to $2,393,775. Never off the board in 18 career starts, the Beldame was a 12th career victory for Midnight Bisou.

Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Midnight Bisou is out of the Repent broodmare Diva Delite and was purchased for $80,000 from the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2017.