News and STORIES

Midnight Bisou Set To Return In Fleur de Lis

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Tuesday June 23, 2020
Champion filly Midnight Bisou is ready to resume racing following her recent works over the Churchill Downs surface. 

The 5-year-old mare will make her first US start since last year's Breeders Cup World Champion. She will go against a field of six in the $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs on Saturday. 

Jeff Bloom of Bloom Racing Stable owns Midnight Bisou in partnership with Madaket Stables and Allen Racing.

"More than anything else, we are so ridiculously fortunate with her that she has such a strong constitution and positive attitude and that she's such a happy, healthy horse," said Bloom. "It sounds like a broken record, but she could not be training better, and it's wonderful." 

Schedule Changes

The Fleur de Lis will be Midnight Blsou's second start of the year. The daughter of Midnight Lute started her 2020 season with a second-place finish against males in the inaugural Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 29. 

Following that performance, her schedule was thrown off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"That's been the problem for everyone in the industry — uncertainty around racing opening up as well as trying to know what the schedule would be like," said Bloom. "From a training standpoint, at the time we started bringing her back after she had a mini-break at Keeneland, the earliest announcement of a race that would fit the program for her was the Fleur de Lis, so that is what we focused on. 

"She comes into the race in excellent shape, and we're excited about gearing up the second half of her campaign in this weird, COVID-19 year."

Preparing for a Return

According to trainer Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bisou has returned with no problems. Her most recent work was four furlongs in :50 1/5 on June 22.

"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 (G1) and leaving (winner) 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 for 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."

Fleur de Lis and the Distaff

The 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis is a Breeders' Cup Challenge Series "Win and You're In" stakes event. The winner will be awarded an automatic berth in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) Nov. 7 at Keeneland. The 2019 season saw a major upset when Midnight Bisou finished second in the Distaff to Blue Prize.

This year's Distaff is setting up to include Monomoy Girl, a champion 3-year-old filly of 2018 and one of Midnight Bisou's top rivals. She came off an 18-month layoff to win a May 16 allowance optional claiming race at Churchill Downs. Monomoy Girl will not run in the Fleur de Lis.

Bloom spoke about the possible matchup in the Distaff.

"I've said it before, but I think those kinds of rivalries and matchups are really good for horseracing," said Bloom. "As a fan, you love to see those kinds of things. For Monomoy Girl, having been off so long and coming back victorious off her layoff lends itself to the potential for a matchup between the two sometime down the road. 

"If all goes as planned, I would expect we will see a race in the not too distant future where they are running against each other. We feel as though we are up to the task, and I'm sure they do too. Bring it on and let's have some fun." 

Midnight Bisou will break from post 5 under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the Fleur de Lis.