Notes & Quotes From the G1 Personal Ensign: Midnight Bisou

(Midnight Bisou wins the G1 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga by a…”tongue?” / Photo by Chris Rahyel & Courtesy of NYRA)

Midnight Bisou kept her perfect record this season intact by running down fellow multiple Grade 1-winning multi-millionaire Elate through an epic stretch battle and emerging a nose in front at the wire in Saturday’s Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti at Saratoga Race Course.

The 70th running of the 1 1/8-mile Personal Ensign for fillies and mares 3 and older on the main track was the fifth of seven graded-stakes, six of them Grade 1, worth $4.8 million in purses on a blockbuster 13-race program highlighted by the 150th renewal of the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers.

Trainer Steve Asmussen — Midnight Bisou (1st):

On edging the game Elate in the final inches:

“Two great mares hooked up at Saratoga in a Grade 1,” Asmussen said. “A beautiful day, a beautiful setting, and two great mares.”

“The filly didn’t run her best races here last summer and she came into this one in great form. And for her to win here at Saratoga against Elate in the Personal Ensign, at a mile-and-an-eighth … check marks,” Asmussen said. “I have a ton of respect for the effort she gave today. We’ll evaluate how she’s doing. I do think she is the leader of the division.”

Jockey Mike Smith — Midnight Bisou:

“The mare ran a tremendous race,” Smith said. “It was a fight to get by Elate, who is a champion in her own right. With the extra four pounds there it took me a bit to get going, but once I got her going I was really happy that she handled the mile-and-an-eighth. I thought I got there at the wire, but there have been times before when I thought I did and didn’t. You don’t know the bob exactly, but I felt like I got it anyway. I’m happy to know that I did.”

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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