TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

Midnight Bourbon

7) MIDNIGHT BOURBON (c, Tiznow–Catch the Moon, by Malibu Moon)
O-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Steve Asmussen. Sales History: $525,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSW & GISP, 7-2-2-3, $461,420.
Last Start: 2nd GII Louisiana Derby, FG, Mar. 20
Accomplishments: 3rd GII Risen Star S., FG, Feb. 13; 1st GIII Lecomte S., FG, Jan. 16; 3rd GI Champagne S., 2nd GIII Iroquois S.
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 66

Jockey Mike Smith will be the new rider for this $525,000 KEESEP colt from Steve Asmussen's barn. Smith is 2-for-26 in the Derby, and it's interesting to juxtapose the odds of his two winners, Giacomo (50-1 in 2005) and Justify (the 2018 fave who went on to win the Triple Crown). But Smith's luck in the last two Derbies hasn't been so hot: In 2019, he was the rider of morning-line fave Omaha Beach, who got injured and scratched days before the race; he instead picked up the ride on 24-1 Cutting Humor, who ran tenth. Last summer, Smith opted off of eventual Derby winner Authentic to instead ride Honor A.P., who finished fourth. Smith doesn't often ride for Asmussen (they race on different circuits except for big racing days), but he won with the last two mounts the trainer offered him at Churchill last June 27. Smith's task with Midnight Bourbon will involve teaching this capable (three 93+ Beyers this year) stalker how to seal the deal, because this Tiznow bay has had trouble putting away opponents under pressure. Midnight Bourbon has never been off the board in seven lifetime starts, a nice foundation that has yet to be capped with a breakthrough effort.