What to watch for: Midnight Bisou stars on Haskell undercard

July 15, 2019 12:24pm

Midnight Bisou can take another step toward a division title at an unusually early point in the season Saturday when she features on the Haskell Invitational (G1) undercard, leading this week’s list of what to watch for in racing.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the prospective Haskell field. Before it goes off, however, 4-year-old Midnight Bisou’s appearance highlights an afternoon that also sees graded stakes action at Saratoga and Del Mar.

A daughter of Midnight Lute, Midnight Bisou is 4-for-4 this year, with each of those victories in graded stakes company. Last out, she won the Ogden Phipps (G1) on Belmont Stakes day, and she’ll use Monmouth Park’s Grade 3, $150,000 Molly Pitcher as a prep for the Aug. 24 Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga.

Connections opted for the Molly Pitcher over Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Shuvee, also at the Spa, where Midnight Bisou ran twice last year.

“It probably wasn’t her favorite surface but she still ran OK,” co-owner Jeff Bloom told the Daily Racing Form. “This race kind of sets us up better for the next one with one less taxing race over the surface.”

Others nominated for the Molly Pitcher include Coach Rocks, a Grade 2-winning older filly who returned to the winner’s circle last out, and Wow Cat, who has worked consistently as of late but hasn’t raced since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Monmouth Park’s Saturday card includes six stakes in all, with the Monmouth Cup (G3), Oceanport (G3) and Matchmaker (G3) also graded events.

Catalina Cruiser stretching back out

John Sadler-trained Catalina Cruiser, who returned a winner sprinting on Belmont Stakes weekend in the True North (G2), is expected to lead entrants in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Diego, which precedes the Pacific Classic (G1) later this summer at Del Mar.

Catalina Cruiser won last year’s San Diego in a breakout performance that led to favoritism in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The son of Union Rags didn’t do much running that day — the victory belonged to City of Light — and Catalina Cruiser headed to the sidelines.

The San Diego will represent a stretch out from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles for a runner who could make some noise in the handicap division. Hronis Racing’s Catalina Cruiser tuned up Saturday with a final work at Santa Anita Park, getting five furlongs in 1:00.40.

Among those expected to oppose him are the Peter Eurton duo of Draft Pick and Core Beliefs. Also on the card is the Grade 2, $200,000 San Clemente for 3-year-old fillies going a mile on turf.

Guarana gets another call

Loaded with 3-year-old fillies fit for the main track, trainer Chad Brown will send out perhaps the best of the bunch in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.

Guarana, who improved her record to 2-for-2 when defeating Kentucky Oaks heroine Serengeti Empress in the Acorn (G1), put in what Brown deemed “an outstanding performance” when winning by six lengths on Belmont Stakes day.

A Three Chimneys Farm homebred daughter of Ghostzapper, Guarana breezed a half mile Saturday in 48.77 at Saratoga.

“She's trained well since,” Brown said of the Acorn, “and she's on target for the Coaching Club.”

Guarana’s primary challenge will come from Grade 2 winners Champagne Anyone and Point of Honor in a loaded race for this division.

In addition to Guarana, Brown has Mother Goose (G2) winner Dunbar Road for the Alabama (G1) later this summer at the Spa, while Royal Charlotte will be on to the Test (G1) after blitzing rivals in the recent Victory Ride at Belmont Park.

 

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