Midnight Bisou: ‘Arguably best horse in the word’

Today’s Churchill Downs media notes by the track publicity department (Coady photo of Midnight Bisou paddock schooling Wednesday at Churchill Downs):

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, June 18, 2020)Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing’s 2019 Eclipse Award-winner Midnight Bisou completed her most serious preparation for next Saturday’s $200,000 Fleur de Lis presented by Coca-Cola (Grade II) with a swift six-furlong move in 1:12 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bisou has been well-traveled throughout her career with five Grade I victories and runner-up efforts in last year’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) and February’s $20 million Saudi Cup.

“Her training before we went to Saudi was just mindboggling,” Asmussen said. “It’s just like it is now. We still wonder how she’s able to do it so easily and so consistently. Her works at Churchill have been beautiful. I was very tempted to run her in the (June 13) Ogden Phipps (GI) and leaving She’s a Julie for the Fleur de Lis. I feel like with what she’s done – traveling to Saudi, taking on older boys and everyone knows the trip she got and knows the circumstances… how do you have an adjective what she is and what she means to racing? Coming back, the next race isn’t the goal for this year. The Breeders’ Cup is. She is arguably the best horse in the world.”

Midnight Bisou’s 20-race career has been nothing short of spectacular. The now 5-year-old mare began her career on the 2018 Road to the Kentucky Oaks with victories in the $200,000 Santa Ynez (GII), $100,000 Santa Ysabel (GIII) and $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (GI) with previous trainer Bill Spawr. Midnight Bisou finished third behind Monomoy Girl in the 2018 Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).

Under the care of Asmussen, Bisou reeled off victories in the $250,000 Mother Goose (GII), $1 million Cotillion (GI), $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic (GIII), $350,000 Azeri (GII), $750,000 Apple Blossom (GI), $700,000 Ogden Phipps (GI), $150,000 Molly Pitcher (GIII), $700,000 Personal Ensign (GI) and $300,000 Beldame (GII).

Midnight Bisou is slated to take on 2019 Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Serengeti Empress in the Fleur de Lis, which is part of a quartet of stakes next Saturday at Churchill Downs along with the $400,000 Stephen Foster presented by Coca-Cola (GII), $100,000 Regret presented by TwinSpires.com (GIII) and $100,000 Bashford Manor presented by TwinSpires.com (GIII).

The Fleur de Lis is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Distaff Division” race while the Stephen Foster is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Classic Division” event. This year’s Breeders’ Cup is scheduled for Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland.

Nominations for all four races are available online at www.churchilldowns.com/horsemen/stakes/nominations.

FACTOR THIS MADE 8-5 FAVORITE IN WISE DAN; FIELD PASS 2-1 CHOICE IN AUDUBONGaining Ground Racing’s multiple graded stakes winner Factor This was made the 8-5 favorite in Saturday’s $200,000 Wise Dan presented by Ford (Grade II). The 1 1/8-mile turf event will share the spotlight with the $100,000 Audubon presented by TwinSpires.com where Three Diamonds Farm’s Field Pass is slated at 2-1 on the morning line.

The Wise Dan was carded as Race 9 of 11 on Saturday, while the Audubon will go as Race 6. First post is 1 p.m. (all times Eastern).

The complete field for the Wise Dan from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Just Howard(Rafael Bejarano, Graham Motion, 10-1); English Bee (James Graham, Motion, 10-1); Factor This (Shaun Bridgmohan, Brad Cox, 8-5); Eons (Adam Beschizza, Arnaud Delacour, 50-1); Aquaphobia (Corey Lanerie, Mike Maker, 6-1); Ritzy A.P. (Declan Cannon, Jack Sisterson, 20-1); March to the Arch (Florent Geroux, Mark Casse, 5-1); Emmaus (IRE) (Brian Hernandez, Connor Murphy, 15-1); Casa Creed (Martin Garcia, Bill Mott, 15-1); Hembree (Gerardo Corrales, Maker, 12-1); and Parlor (Tyler Gaffalione, Maker, 9-2).

The Audubon field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Bama Breeze (Corey Lanerie, Rusty Arnold, 8-1); Spanish Kingdom (Brian Hernandez Jr., Joe Sharp, 10-1); Natural Power (Adam Beschizza, Mark Casse, 8-1); Pixelate (Mitchell Murrill, Mike Stidham, 9-2); Fenwick Station (Declan Cannon, Eddie Kenneally, 15-1); Field Pass (Tyler Gaffalione, Mike Maker, 2-1); Kinenos (Shaun Bridgmohan, Brad Cox, 8-1); and Summer to Remember (Florent Geroux, Todd Pletcher, 7-2).

Free Brisnet past performances are available online at www.churchilldowns.com/handicapping.

MORALES SIDELINED WITH FOOT INJURY – Jockey Edgar Morales is sidelined with a right foot injury following a training mishap last weekend at Trackside Louisville.

Morales stated he had minor fractures of bones in his foot but if the injury does not require surgery, he should not miss much time from the saddle. He will be re-evaluated Monday. Morales has 15 wins from 157 starts in 2020 including one victory at the Spring Meet.

GAFFALIONE DRAWING CLEAR IN SPRING MEET JOCKEY RACETyler Gaffalione continued his strong Spring Meet with eight victories in the last four days of racing at Churchill Downs. Gaffalione held a 23-15 win lead over Ricardo Santana Jr. in the jockey standings at the start of Thursday’s nine-race card. Corey Lanerie was in third with 14 wins.

In the trainer standings, Brad Cox held a 12-10 win lead over Brendan Walsh with Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen on their heels with nine victories. Perennial leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey held a 4-3 win lead in the owner’s race over Calumet Farm, Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch, Ten Strike Racing and Gary and Mary West.

AUDUBON OAKS ADDED TO ROAD TO KENTUCKY OAKS – Churchill Downs officials have added Ellis Park’s $100,000 Audubon Oaks to the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday, Aug. 9 will award 10-4-2-1 points to the top four finishers.

CLOSING DAY NOW SUNDAY, JUNE 28 – On Tuesday, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission unanimously approved one additional race date for the Spring Meet at Churchill Downs: Sunday, June 28, which will be the new closing day for the 27-date season.

TV SCHEDULE THIS WEEK – The racing action from Churchill Downs Racetrack throughout the 2020 Spring Meet will be broadcast on FOX Sports’ “America’s Day at the Races,” which will air every race day on either FS1 or FS2.

Thursday, June 18

1:00 – 6:30 p.m. (FS2)

1:00 – 6:30 p.m. (MSG+)

3:00 – 6:00 p.m. (FOX Sports Ohio)

Friday, June 19

12:30 – 6:30 p.m. (FS2)

12:30 – 6:30 p.m. (MSG+)

3:00 – 6:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Ohio)

Saturday, June 20

11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (FS1)

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. / 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (FS2)

11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. / 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (MSG+)

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. / 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (FOX Sports Ohio)

Note: there will be no TV coverage from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. because NBC will televise the Belmont Stakes

Viewing: TVG2, TwinSpires.com or “Churchill Downs Live” app from the Amazon App store via Amazon TV Fire Stick

Sunday, June 21

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (FS2)

2:30 – 6:00 p.m. (FS1)

1:00 – 6:00 p.m. (MSG+)

3:00 – 6:00 p.m. (FOX Sports Ohio)

DOWN THE STRETCH – There was a $95,296 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot for racing on Thursday. The sequence spanned Races 4-9. … Kentucky Derby contender Major Fed returned to the work tab on Monday with a half-mile move in :49 following his disappointing 10th place finish in last month’s $150,000 Matt Winn (GIII). “That was as impressive of a work as you can get,” trainer Greg Foley said. “There was a Casse team that started about 10 lengths in front of him and he passed them like they were standing still at the wire.” Foley reported Major Fed’s next race plans are in flux but he will stay on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. … For racing on Thursday and Friday, the rail on the Matt Winn Turf Course will be in Lane 3, 22 ft. off the hedge. The rail will be taken down for racing on Saturday and Sunday.

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Jennie Rees