first_img36% ITM% Philip D’Amato32 14% TWO THUMBS UP FROM TEAM ASMUSSEN ON MIDNIGHT BISOU WORKMonster Midnight Bisou, undefeated in seven races this year, each a graded stakes, three of them Grade I’s, hopes to enhance her Horse of the Year credentials with a victory in the Grade I, $2 million Longines Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.With regular rider Mike Smith aboard for trainer Steve Asmussen, the four-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute worked five furlongs towards that goal at 6:45 Monday morning in company with Comedian, each receiving a clocking of 1:01.60.“It went brilliant,” said Smith, who has ridden the dark bay filly in 14 of her 18 career races, winning 10. “She really got over the race track nice; I love the way she handled the surface. She was happy and just cruised in 1:01 about as easy as you could do it. She left her company pretty handily.”Added Asmussen: “Perfect. I thought she looked very comfortable. I was extremely curious for Mike’s input on how she went over the race track because of his familiarity with her and the race track separately, and all reports were very positive.”Midnight Bisou has three wins and a second in four starts at Santa Anita, including victory in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 7, 2018, when trained by Bill Spawr.BLACKER HITS THE ROAD (NOT REALLY) FOR FIRST BREEDERS’ CUPDan Blacker is looking forward to this year’s Breeders’ Cup races more than most horsemen. It will mark the first time the 37-year-old trainer born in Oxford, England, competes in the championship event, having upstart Hit the Road primed for the $1 million Juvenile Turf at one mile on Nov. 1.Blacker studied at the University of Edinburgh before coming to the U.S. where he was assistant to Richard Mandella from 2007 to 2009, working with Grade I winners The Tin Man, Into Mischief and Dixie Chatter, among others.“Hit the Road came out of his win in the Zuma Beach (Oct. 6) as good as he went in,” Blacker said of the bay son of More Than Ready, who was making only his third start. “His weight is good, but his biggest asset, along with his talent, is his mind. He’s got the mind of an older horse.“He’s very smart, very laid back, and when you have a horse like that, they just do what they need to do, don’t expend any more energy than they have to.“He looks really good right now, and missing a start at Del Mar because he got sick was beneficial in his winning the Zuma Beach and setting up for the Breeders’ Cup.“Maybe that was a blessing in disguise, because he won the Zuma Beach off what might be considered a layoff (a span of more than two months), so he should be peaking for the Breeders’ Cup. I’m feeling really good about having a winning race over the course.“He hasn’t even been tested over the turf, having won both his races so easily.”Hit the Road, owned by D K Racing, LLC, Radley Equine, Inc., Taste of Victory Stables and Rick Gold, broke his maiden going a mile on turf at Del Mar by a length and a quarter, rallying from eighth in a field of 10, then came back to take the Zuma Beach by 2 ¼ lengths.D’AMATO HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY IN CALIFORNIA FLAGPhil D’Amato, the training leader in stakes wins with four through 11 days of Santa Anita’s 23-day Autumn Meet, could add to that total Saturday when he sends out King Abner and What a View in the $100,000 California Flag Handicap for three-year-olds and up at 5 ½ furlongs on turf.Both horses are coming off a series of route races at a mile or longer, but D’Amato is optimistic that he is doing right by shortening them up.“Both have a lot of back class,” D’Amato pointed out. “They’re fresh and they both run their best races when they’re fresh. They’re training very well.”King Abner, a gray son of Hansen, last raced on June 29, a span of some 14 weeks, while What a View is coming off a seventh-place finish Aug. 18 in the Grade II Del Mar Mile Handicap in which he set the pace until reaching the homestretch.The California Flag Handicap is one in the lucrative Golden State Series, restricted to California-bred or sired horses.FINISH LINES: Bob Baffert sent Eight Rings, romping six-length winner of the American Pharoah Stakes on Sept. 27, five furlongs in 1:01 this morning as he prepares for the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 1. The son of Empire Maker worked in company with Qahira, who was clocked in 1:01.20. Also working for Baffert under Drayden Van Dyke was Improbable, a candidate for the $1 million Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile on Nov. 2. He went five furlongs in 1:01.20 . . . Breeders’ Cup Sprint candidate Engage went four furlongs for Steve Asmussen in 50.60, while Mirth (Filly & Mare Turf), front-running winner of the Rodeo Drive Stakes, went four furlongs on the training track in 50.80 for Phil D’Amato . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but be open for simulcast wagering Thursday in the Paddock Room, with free General Admission and parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. Live racing resumes Friday, Oct. 18, at 1 p.m. 3 52% (Current Through Sunday, Oct. 13) 3 2 0 2 15% 15% MIDNIGHT BISOU IN ‘PERFECT’ DRILL FOR DISTAFF 47% 3 8 52% $107,204 40% 3 45% 40% 1 5 Tiago Pereira29 27% 2 14% 6 2 3 5 Geovanni Franco36 John Shirreffs10 54% 30% 3 5 1 $110,365 19% 3rd 4 8 33% Richard Baltas34 $282,339 3 2 3 7 5 22% Mario Gutierrez22 4 10 22% 6 $533,401 31% Peter Miller23 22% 40% $250,632 25% 13% 60% $574,538 Dan Blacker5 $317,330 4 3 2 4 29% $783,312 $33,832 Martin Garcia28 2 Simon Callaghan13 2 $606,424 26% 13 53% 1 6 $100,951 BAFFERT BREEZES EIGHT RINGS FOR BC JUVENILE 5 6 14% Evin Roman27 $65,343 $169,901 $138,851 21% 2 Craig Anthony Lewis11 60% 4 13% D’AMATO DUO SHORTEN UP FOR CALIFORNIA FLAG 13% $273,547 4 10% Jorge Velez52 10 56% 42% Flavien Prat41 1 Hector O. Palma15 Mike Smith23 2 2nd $185,149 Drayden Van Dyke38 15% 3 Doug O’Neill46 20% 9% 11% 1st Vladimir Cerin11 0 9 1 3 4 $162,157 8 $311,089 $235,272 5 2 $340,499 12 8 25% 4 22% 6 41% 7 62% 8 5 45% 45% 3 52% 3 4 Ruben Fuentes40 40% 1 $643,993 Money Won 3 LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:FEATURES:Breeders’ Cup Memories: Lady’s Secret Wins the 1986 Breeders’ Cup DistaffWORK OUTS:Eight Rings (Outside) and Qahira (Baffert)Secret Spice (Outside) and My Journey (Baltas) 10/13/19King Abner (D’Amato) 10/13/19War of Will (Casse) 10/13/19Secret Spice (Outside) and My Journey (Baltas) 10/13/19Catalina Cruiser (Sadler) 10/12/19Higher Power (Sadler) 10/12/19Ollie’s Candy (Sadler) 10/12/19American Theorem (Outside) and Knifes Edge (Papaprodromou) 10/11/19Bellafina (Callaghan) 10/11/19 $122,288 8 55% 55% 18% 0 15% 13% 9% 43% 44% $21,953 3 J.C. Diaz, Jr.32 3 23% 9 7 30% Tyler Baze15 2 1 7 9 Abel Cedillo66 3 2 $191,613 5 5 $132,225 Win% Mark Glatt23 2 $163,996 2 14% $701,502 BLACKER EXCITED ABOUT FIRST BREEDERS’ CUP 0 45% 4 Bob Baffert24 $550,585 68% SANTA ANITA STATISTICS 3 4 48% $353,713 4 30% $66,355 Vann Belvoir9 2 Rafael Bejarano38 3 John Sadler32 33% $227,262 4 40% 0 1 3 TrainerSts Jeff Mullins21 Ryan Hanson5 0 0 $237,453 Richard Mandella20 4 Edwin Maldonado20last_img read more