Phipps No Gimme For Midnight Bisou

Midnight Bisou beating Escape Clause in the Apple Blossom | Coady

By Alan Carasso

Though it has attracted just five distaff routers, Saturday’s GI Ogden Phipps S. does not lack for intrigue, with Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) the one to beat, but facing legitimate challengers inside and out.

Never out of the top three in a nine-race sophomore campaign, Midnight Bisou won this track’s GII Mother Goose S. by six lengths in her debut for the Steve Asmussen barn and three starts later was put up to the victory over champion Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) in the GI Cotillion S. A good third in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the dark bay is perfect in three tries this season, including a last-out score as the 9-10 favorite in the GI Apple Blossom H. Apr. 14.

Just behind in the Oaklawn centerpiece was Western Canadian darling Escape Clause (Going Commando), who bid between horses and was just touched off at the wire when in receipt of five pounds. A winner of 20 of her 31 lifetime appearances, the Manitoba-bred blasted away from her rivals to win Santa Anita’s GIII La Canada S. by 5 1/2 lengths in January and added a 7 1/4-length victory in the Harry Henson S. at Sunland Park Mar. 24. Escape Clause is one pound better off at the weights with Midnight Bisou under the conditions of the race.

Come Dancing (Malibu Moon) has turned a corner this year at five, posting a pair of Beyer Speed Figures that top the 101 career best for Midnight Bisou. The dark bay turned in an eye-catching performance in the seven-furlong GIII Distaff H. Apr. 5, streaking away to defeat the solid Pacific Gale (Flat Out) by 7 3/4 lengths. Pounded into 30 cents on the dollar for the GII Ruffian S. going a sloppy one-turn mile May 5, the homebred once again kicked on the afterburners in the stretch to best TDN Rising Star‘ Pacific Wind (Curlin) by 6 3/4 powerful lengths.

The winner of the Phipps earns a fees-paid berth into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November.


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