OTB Race Previews
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Midnight Bisou, who brings a career record of five wins from 11 starts and earnings of $1,565,000, will begin her 4-year-old campaign as the 3-5 favorite in Sunday's Grade 3, $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic, the richest race of the Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meet.
Post time for the race is Sunday, January 27 at 1:15 pm (Central) for the Houston Racing Festival which also includes the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup and four additional undercard stakes.
Race 9 on Sam Houston's Sunday card with a Post Time of 6:58 PM
|1||Song From Above||50-1||Sasha Risenhoover
|3||Viva Forever||12-1||Deshawn Parker
|4||Moonlit Garden||8-1||Jose Ortiz
|Robert Hess, Jr.|
|6||Prado's Sweet Ride||6-1||Florent Geroux
|7||Midnight Bisou||3-5||Mike Smith
Midnight Bisou is owned by Bloom Racing Stable, LLC, Madaket Stables LLC and Allen Racing, LLC. The daughter of Midnight Lute out of the Repent mare Diva Delight was bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds. She broke her maiden in her third career start, the Grade 2, Santa Ynez Stakes prior to winning the Santa Anita Oaks last April. Next was the Grade 1, Kentucky Oaks, where she rallied gamely to finish third. After two defeats to the heralded filly Monomoy Girl, Midnight Bisou faced her once again on September 22 at Parx in the Grade 1, Cotillion.
She finished a neck behind the multiple-stakes winning filly, but was declared the winner after the stewards ruled there was interference. Her final race of 2018 was a third-place finish in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs.
Midnight Bisou has been training at Fair Grounds under the watchful eye of Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen, who has won ten leading training titles in Houston in addition to his numerous national racing accomplishments.
"She's a very pleasant filly and we are looking forward to running her in the Houston Ladies Classic," said Jeff Bloom, who serves as racing managing director for the ownership group. "After the Breeders' Cup, we let her take it easy. Steve had targeted this race as her springboard to kick off her 4-year-old campaign."
Bloom manages all the acquisitions for Bloom Racing Stable and shared his evaluation of Midnight Bisou, who he purchased for $80,000 at the 2017 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
"Buying horses in a combination of many factors," stated Bloom. "You are looking at athleticism, pedigree, personality and demeanor. Although it was not a "wow" breeze, she was incredibly professional and her gallop out was impressive. She had command of herself and all the makings of a quality racehorse."
Asmussen reports that Midnight Bisou will van to Houston mid-week and that Mike Smith will retain the mount and make his first trip to Sam Houston Race Park. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, Smith is the all-time leading Breeder's Cup winning jockey and pilot of the legendary Zenyatta and 2018 Triple Crown winner, Justify.
"Mike is arguably one of the best riders in our sport," added Bloom. "He fits her like a glove and told us that the first time he rode our filly, he knew she was in a different league!"
Remedy, a 4-year-old Creative Cause owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC and trained by Brad Cox, has been installed as the second choice at 3-1. The $200,000 Keeneland sale purchase made her debut at the Keeneland September sale before breaking her maiden at Fair Grounds. Cox shipped her to Remington Park where she ran second in the Grade 3, Remington Park Oaks. The Kentucky-bred filly overcame a troubled start to finish second in the Grade 3, Comely Stakes on November 23.
"Brad and I thought she was a grass horse and might have run her a few too many times on the turf," said Steve Davison, owner of Twin Creeks Racing Stables. "She really stepped it up a notch at Aqueduct and even though we will be facing tough competition, we feel she is ready."
Davison had very good fortune a few years ago at Sam Houston Race Park when his homebred Red Rifle won the 2014 Maxxam Gold Cup. The chestnut gelding went on to win five additional stakes. He earned $1,022,350 in 37 career starts and is now retired at Twin Creeks Farm.
"Sam Houston Race Park has been pretty good for us," added Davison.
Cox won the 2018 Houston Ladies Classic with Tiger Moth as has given the mount to Joe Bravo.
Prado's Sweet Ride, owned by Darrell and Sadie Brommer , will van in from her Fair Grounds base for trainer Gary Scherer. The 7-year-old mare, sired by Fort Prado, is a multiple stakes winner who has earned $550,414 in 31 starts. Jockey Florent Geroux, who won last year's Houston Ladies Classic, has the call.
The Houston Ladies Classic field, in post position order, with riders and morning line odds is: Song From Above, Sasha Risenhoover, 50-1; Remedy, Joe Bravo, 3-1; Viva Forever, DeShawn Parker, 12-1; Moonlit Garden, Jose Ortiz, 8-1; Heavenhasmynikki, Jose Bracho, 15-1; Prado's Sweet Ride, Florent Geroux. 6-1 and Midnight Bisou, Mike Smith, 3-5.
Inaugurated in 2013, the Houston Ladies Classic was formed to serve as the marquee race for Sam Houston's Thoroughbred meet. Now in its seventh running, the mile and one-sixteenth Houston Ladies Classic anchors The Houston Racing Festival, which also includes the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup, the $75,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint, the $50,000 Houston Turf Stakes, the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Turf Stakes and the $50,000 Stonerside Sprint.
"We thank the many horsemen who have supported the Houston Racing Festival each year and look forward to presenting an excellent card, with full fields on Sunday afternoon," said Matt Crawford, Sam Houston Race Park's racing secretary.
Hall of Fame Jockey Mike E. Smith, will be making his first career trip to Sam Houston Race Park for the January 27th Houston Racing Festival.
Winner of the 2018 Triple Crown aboard Justify, Mike Smith has made quite a name for himself throughout his 28 year career. Boasting 5,441 career wins, he is the 2nd all-time leading jockey in career earnings at over $318 million-trailing only fellow Hall of Famer John R. Velazquez.
The all-time leader in Breeders' Cup wins with 26 first place finishes, including wins in the Breeders' Cup Classic in 1997, 2009, 2011, & 2016, Smith's resume is also highlighted by numerous victories in the "American Classic" races. Mike Smith started out his Hall of Fame career by winning the 1993 Preakness Stakes. He then won the 2005 Kentucky Derby, 2010 Belmont, 2013 Belmont, 2013 Kentucky Oaks, and the 2017 Kentucky Oaks.
Last year, riding Justify, he made history by winning the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont to secure the Triple Crown-only the thirteenth in the history of Thoroughbred Racing. At 52 years old, Mike Smith was the oldest Triple Crown jockey in the sports' history. Smith was also the jockey of Zenyatta, the filly who won 19 of 20 career races between 2008-2010. Smith was himself inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2003.
Smith will take four mounts during the day. The first will take place in the $50,000 Stonerside Sprint, where he will ride Direct Dial. The second will be in the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (GIII), where he will ride Markitoff. Smith's third ride will take place in race 9, where he will mount Midnight Bisou in the $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic (GIII). Smith's final mount of the day will be aboard Hey Niki in the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Turf Stakes. The Houston Racing Festival will have a special first post time of 1pm on Sunday, January 27th
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