Horses

Only 3 Fillies Challenge Midnight Bisou in Mother Goose Stakes

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Midnight Bisou wins Belmont's $250,000, Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes on June 30, with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the saddle. Credits: Chelsea Durand | NYRA
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Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith signs autographs for fans at Belmont Park. Credits: Susie Raisher | NYRA
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Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith signs autographs for a fan at Belmont Park. Credits: Susie Raisher | NYRA
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ELMONT, N.Y. — After Midnight Bisou's geared down win in Belmont's $250,000, Grade 2 Mother Goose Stakes June 30, there was celebrating for owners Bloom Racing, Madaket Stables, Allen Racing and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the winners' circle.

But, if there was joy on the front side, there could be a cloud of serious doubt in the racing secretary's office.

When a filly wins the Mother Goose, she's an almost automatic entry for Saratoga's $600,000, Grade 1 Alabama. This year, the venerable race for 3-year-old fillies going the classic distance of a mile and a quarter is carded for Saturday, Aug. 4.

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The dilemma for the racing office is: 'Will we have enough fillies entered to have an Alabama? Does anyone want to try her?'

But, if they get the right fillies, they could come up with one of the great filly races of all time.

In the Mother Goose, only three fillies were willing to take on Midnight Bisou, the winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez, the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. In her only defeat this year, Midnight Bisou finished third to Wonder Godot and Monomoy Girl in Churchill's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

While Midnight Bisou and Smith were demolishing her rivals in the Mother Goose, Wonder Godot was galloping off to a 4-3/4-length win in the US$767,288 Queen's Plate at Woodbine in Rexdale, Ontario defeating 14 males and one other filly in the first leg of Canada's Triple Crown.

The question facing owner Gary Barber and trainer Mark Casse is 'Do we send her down to Saratoga for the Alabama? Or do we keep her in Canada for the next two legs of their Triple Crown?'

Then there's Monomoy Girl. Her connections include Long Island developer Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, the Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables—all regulars on the NYRA circuit who would love to win an Alabama, as would trainer Brad Cox.

If she shows up on Union Avenue, she'll be bringing wins in the Grade 1 Acorn, Churchill's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, Keeneland's Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland Stakes and Fair Grounds' Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes.

Midnight Bisou was transferred from the barn of West Coast trainer Bill Spawr to Asmussen's care this season so that she can be closer to the major action at the eastern tracks.

Scott Blasi, Asmussen's chief assistant, summed up the barn's position when he said, "She came to us in great condition from Bill Spawr. She’s been a pleasure to be around. Very easy to train, does more when you need her to and does things effortlessly like the good ones do.”

He continued, “We’ll see how she comes out of this tomorrow and she’ll move up to Saratoga this week with our barn. We’re starting to move horses in there right now and we’re excited about this summer and the fall ahead with this filly. I think she’s capable of major things.”

Those three sentences are sure to elate the folks at the Spa's racing office.

Racing Suspended Due To Heat 

Extreme heat forced the cancellation of Thoroughbred racing at Belmont Park on Sunday, July 1. Temperatures at the Elmont oval approached the 100-degree mark. They will resume Wednesday, July 4.

Parx announced early Sunday they were forced to cancel their card for Monday, July 2 due a forecast of triple digit temperatures. They are planning racing for Tuesday, July 3.

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