In a departure from her first two races, when she broke slow and closed to just miss by a nose behind eventual grade 1 winner Dream Tree both times, Allen Racing and Bloom Racing Stable's Midnight Bisou raced in second, just a length off of early leader War Heroine, early in the race.
As others rushed up into contention, the 3-year-old Midnight Lute filly relaxed on the outside of the stalking group, made a four-wide move in the turn, and blew by the three fillies ahead of her in the stretch to win the seven-furlong event by 4 1/2 lengths to break her maiden.
"(Trainer) Bill (Spawr) told me one simple thing," said jockey Mike Smith, who rode Midnight Bisou for the first time Sunday. "He told me not to be surprised if she was a whole lot closer than I would have thought today. ... I'm really glad he told me that, because I thought I was up there pretty close and I thought I was too close. I still hit the front a little soon, but she's a really good filly and she wants every bit of seven-eighths of a mile."
The most impressive aspect of the victory was, even though she was closer to the pace than her first two races, Midnight Bisou still finished like a closer. Just a length off the opening quarter set by War Heroine in :22.38, Midnight Bisou settled into fifth but still only 1 3/4 lengths behind the leader through a half-mile in :45.26.
In the stretch, however, Midnight Bisou found another gear. With a furlong to run, she was still a head behind 25-1 longshot Steph Being Steph, but kicked away from the rest of the field with ease to hit the wire in 1:23.40.
"Big win—no question," Spawr said. "I was a little worried with (Artistic Diva) scratching that there wouldn't be enough speed. ... She wants to route—no question. Being around her—the way she acts, her temperament—she'll relish a route."
Favored Win the War, who came into the race undefeated but was making her first start on dirt, was in a similar stalking position as Midnight Bisou, but lacked the same kick and lost a head-bob photo with Steph Being Steph for second. Another 3 1/4 lengths back came Yesterday's News, who was followed by Allianna, War Heroine, Just a Smidge, and Streetwithnoname, to complete the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky, out of the Repent mare Diva Delite, Midnight Bisou now has $150,000 in earnings. She was an $80,000 purchase by Jeff Bloom (who owns Bloom Racing) out of the 2017 Ocala Breeders' Sales spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.
"I felt pretty darn good," Bloom said after the Santa Ynez. "This is a hell of a way to break her maiden. Bill has been so patient with her and she just exhibits so much class and maturity. We really felt that she deserved to be in a race like this."