Midnight Bisou headlines Mother Goose at Belmont
By Bob Ehalt
As soon as Justify crossed the finish line in the Belmont Stakes, aside from a Triple Crown sweep, the race for the Eclipse Award for the top 3-year-old male also became a foregone conclusion.
The same thing seems to be happening in the 3-year-old filly division where Monomoy Girl has taken command with successive Grade 1 wins in the Ashland, Kentucky Oaks and Acorn.
If there’s any hope of a battle for the title, Saturday’s Mother Goose at Belmont Park figures to play a key role in that scenario.
If there’s anyone capable of surpassing Monomoy Girl by year’s end, it would probably be Midnight Bisou, who was a very wide third behind Monomoy Girl as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks and won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in decisive fashion before that.
She’s the headliner in the Mother Goose, pegged as an 8-5 favorite in her first start for new trainer Steve Asmussen.
Mike Smith, who rode Justify to Triple Crown glory, will fly in from California to ride Midnight Bisou.
The daughter of Midnight Lute’s main challenger figures to be the undefeated Road to Victory. A winner of her three career starts, Road to Victory has posted two turf wins but also captured the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs in November for trainer Mark Casse.
In her last start, Road to Victory started her 2018 campaign on June 9 by winning the Alywow Stakes on turf at Woodbine.
“We’ve been extremely happy with how she’s trained since arriving at Belmont,” Casse said. “We just gave her some time off and she grew up. It took a little longer to get her back than I thought it would. When I knew we couldn’t make the Kentucky Oaks, we came up with Plan B for the Alywow and the Mother Goose. I just thought it was a good spot that would lead up to the Mother Goose.”
The field of seven for the Mother Goose also features My Miss Lilly (5-1), who was 11th in the Kentucky Oaks but won the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct before that for trainer Mark Hennig.
“We’re cutting back to one turn and she’ll need to be a little fresher facing this field. She’s never gotten to run here but she’s trained well here,” Hennig said.
Coach Rocks (6-1) was seventh in the Kentucky Oaks but then returned two weeks later to finish second in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. Trained by Dale Romans, she will be ridden by Robbie Albarado in the Mother Goose.
The rest of the field includes Indy Union (20-1), Mo Smart (8-1) and Gio Game (6-1).