It was a move reminiscent of the legendary Zenyatta. Midnight Bisou, loping along at the back of the pack nearing the far turn, was urged by jockey Mike Smith and what followed was a monster move where she had passed every horse by the top of the stretch to win the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks by 3 ½ lengths.
The Oaks is the filly version of the Santa Anita Derby and gives Midnight Bisou a spot in the Kentucky Oaks, if they choose to go, on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby.
“She’s special, I’m telling you,” Smith said. “Although she was probably a little farther back than anyone expected, it was almost … I’m not going to compare it to riding Zenyatta, but I used to be way back there [on her], and I wasn’t worried [this time] because I knew that she could catch them.”
Midnight Bisou, trained by Bill Spawr, was the 3-5 favorite and paid $3.20 to win. Spectator was second and Thirteen Squared finished third in the 1 1/16-mile race.
“I am shaking,” said winning owner Jeff Bloom. “I’m speechless. … I think she is [the best filly in the country]. I know this much, she’s a good one.”
Smith was also the jockey on Justify, giving him the Santa Anita Oaks-Derby double.
“I was very fortunate today,” Smith said. “I just put the weight on those two. There wasn’t a whole lot of riding.
There were six thoroughbred stakes races Saturday including the Santa Anita Oaks and Derby.
The $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes, for older fillies and mares going one mile on the turf, was won by Beau Recall by three-quarters of a length. She paid $10.80 to win for trainer Simon Callaghan and jockey Joel Rosario. In the $150,000 Providencia Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf, Fatale Bere stalked to the top of the stretch and made up ground quickly to win by 1 ½ lengths. Leonard Powell was the trainer and Rosario was in the saddle. She paid $17.80 to win.
There were two Cal-bred stakes. Spiced Perfection just got up in time to beat favorite Show It N Moe It to win by a neck in the $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Brian Koriner was the trainer and Joe Talamo the jockey. Favorite Heck Yeah won the male version of that race, the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for Baffert and Smith. Both races were 6 ½ furlongs. Spiced Perfection paid $23.60 to win. Heck Yeah brought a price of $5.20.
Pletcher has four
Todd Pletcher got his fourth horse qualified for the Kentucky Derby when Vino Rosso beat Enticed to win the $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York. Restoring Hope, for Baffert and jockey Flavien Prat, finished third, which does not give him enough qualifying points for Louisville. Vino Rosso pulled away in the late stretch to win by three lengths. Enticed, who already had enough qualifying points, lodged an objection against the winner but it was dismissed. Pletcher has also qualified Audible, Noble Indy and Magnum Moon. Vino Rosso paid $10.40.
Good Magic back in form
In the $1-million Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in Kentucky, Good Magic redeemed himself for a third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth to win the Derby prep by 1 ½ lengths. Flameaway, who never really looked as if he could beat Good Magic, finished second. Good Magic paid $5.20 for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Jose Ortiz. Both horses will be eligible to run in the Kentucky Derby.