Two noses shy of being unbeaten, trainer Bill Spawr's Midnight Bisou put it all together on Sunday at Santa Anita as she rolled to an emphatic 4 ½ length win in the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes. Piloted by “Big Money” Mike Smith for the first time, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Midnight Lute got seven furlongs in 1:23.40 while defeating previously unbeaten favorite Win the War, who missed second money by a nose.
Breaking from post position seven, Midnight Bisou was unhurried early but in close contact with with a group of three dueling leaders into the far turn. A close fourth and on the move four deep a quarter mile from home, Midnight Bisou easily overhauled longshot Steph Being Steph and the favorite at the top of the stretch to won easily.
Second, beaten a nose in a minor stakes going seven furlongs Nov. 18 at Del Mar, Midnight Bisou was off as the 9-5 second choice in a field of eight sophomore fillies and paid $5.60, $3.60 and $2.60.
Owned by Allen Racing, LLC and Bloom Racing Stable, LLC, Midnight Bisou is now 1-3 and with the winner's check of $120,000, she multiplied her earnings by a factor of five to reach $150,000.
“Big win, no question,” said Spawr, who is five weeks removed from back surgery and navigating with a cane. “I was a little worried with the one (Artistic Diva) scratching, that there wasn't enough speed…Mike's never ridden her and he said she surprised him a little around the turn. He said she kinda dropped the bridle, so he gathered her up to get her running and she took off…
“She wants to route, no question. Being around her, the way she acts, her temperament, she'll relish a route.”
Off at 25-1 with Stewart Elliott, Steph Being Steph, who had the lead by a head approaching the quarter pole, was all heart at the rail late and she narrowly prevailed to be second, returning $14.60 and $5.00.
Ridden by 2015 Eclipse Award Apprentice Tyler Gaffalione, Win the War, who came off a rousing 11 ¼ length win in a listed stakes at Woodbine Nov. 19 and was unbeaten in two starts, was off at 8-5 and paid $2.40 to show while finishing 3 ¼ lengths in front of Yesterday's News.
Fractions on the race were 22.38 45.26 and 1:10.52.
Racing resumes with a special five-day week on Thursday, with first post time for an eight-race card at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.
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