It took the length of the stretch, but Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) finally got her nose in front of an ultra-game Escape Clause (Going Commando) on the wire to win the GI Apple Blossom H. at Oaklawn Park Sunday. The 4-5 favorite settled near the back of the field as Wonder Gadot (Medaglia d’Oro) zipped out to the early lead and raced keenly through an opening quarter in :23.07. The pack began closing in after a half in :47.08 and, while 6-5 shot Elate (Medaglia d’Oro) was inching closer along the rail, Midnight Bisou took the overland route. She was three wide into the stretch as Escape Clause took over after a half in 1:12.12. Escape Clause was briefly able to open up on her foe in upper stretch, but Midnight Bisou battled on resolutely to just get the better of the gritty ‘Assiniboia Assassin’ in the shadow of the wire.
“Escape Clause ran huge, but you know, the great ones seem to pull it off no matter what,” jockey Mike Smith said after adding the Apple Blossom to his win aboard Omaha Beach (War Front) in Saturday’s GI Arkansas Derby.
“What an unbelievable filly,” trainer Steve Asmussen said in the wake of Midnight Bisou’s third career Grade I win. “We were talking about how special a filly she is, how much confidence she has this year. She really seems to be enjoying her job. We’re just blessed to have her.”
During a hard-knocking sophomore campaign in 2018, Midnight Bisou won the GI Santa Anita Oaks and was promoted to the victory over divisional champion Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) in the GI Cotillion S. In addition, she was third in the GI Kentucky Oaks, GI Alabama S. and GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff and was runner-up in the GI Coaching Club American Oaks. She is now three-for-three in 2019 after opening the year with a win in the Jan. 27 GIII Houston Ladies Classic and adding the Mar. 16
GII Azeri S. last time out.
Jockey Tyler Baze had nothing but respect for the plucky Manitoba-bred Escape Clause.
“She’s really and truly probably one of the best horses I’ve ever been on in my life,” Baze said. “She gives it her all. She got beat a nose and I got slammed pretty hard going into the first turn. I knew I got beat at the wire. It was a head-and-head battle all the way down the lane. She gave me everything. We were a little unfortunate we didn’t get the bob.”
After a sluggish start, Elate had to wait for racing room nearing the stretch and the trip may have made the difference, according to trainer Bill Mott.
“She got back into good position after that [sluggish start],” Mott said. “I thought [Jose Ortiz] was really loaded going into the turn, I thought he was going well. I thought he was going quite well. He had to wait a little until Midnight Bisou went past him and then he came out and around. I don’t know if that cost any momentum or not. I don’t have any big excuses.”
Midnight Bisou’s dam Diva Delite (Repent), in foal to Pioneerof the Nile, was purchased by Breeze Easy for $750,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale. Winner of the 2010 GIII Florida Oaks, Diva Delite has a 2-year-old colt by Warrior’s Reward and a yearling filly by Wicked Strong. Her now 3-year-old Stage Left (Congrats) was third in last year’s Sapling S.
Sunday, Oaklawn Park
APPLE BLOSSOM H.-GI, $750,000, Oaklawn, 4-14, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 1:43.88, gd.
1–MIDNIGHT BISOU, 122, f, 4, by Midnight Lute
1st Dam: Diva Delite (GSW, $300,067), by Repent
2nd Dam: Tour Hostess, by Tour d’Or
3rd Dam: Counsel’s Gal, by High Counsel
($19,000 RNA Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $80,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR).
O-Bloom Racing Stable, LLC, Madaket Stables LLC & Allen
Racing LLC.; B-Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Steven M.
Asmussen; J-Mike E. Smith. $450,000. Lifetime Record:
14-8-3-3, $2,405,000. Werk Nick Rating: D+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Escape Clause, 117, m, 5, by Going Commando
1st Dam: Danger Pay, by Circulating
2nd Dam: Anotherbuck, by Aferd
3rd Dam: Choo Choo, by O’Hara
(C$5,000 Ylg ’15 CTHMAN). O-Don Schnell, Barry Arnason &
True North; B-Cam Ziprick & Arnason Farms (MB); T-Don
3–Elate, 120, m, 5, by Medaglia d’Oro
1st Dam: Cheery, by Distorted Humor
2nd Dam: Yell, by A.P. Indy
3rd Dam: Wild Applause, by Northern Dancer
‘TDN Rising Star’ O/B-Claiborne Farm & Adele B. Dilschneider (KY); T-William I.
Margins: NO, 2 3/4, 9. Odds: 0.90, 8.50, 1.20.
Also Ran: Viva Forever, Chocolate Martini, Wonder Gadot. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free
Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.