BENSALEM, Pa., (Saturday, September 22, 2018) – For a few minutes Saturday, Monomoy Girl was still unbeaten this year, still the best 3-year-old filly on the planet.
And then she wasn’t.
The 50th running of the $1 million Cotillion at Parx Saturday, ended with a wild finish as victory was snatched away from Monomoy Girl and awarded instead to second place finisher Midnight Bisou, who had been beaten by a neck in the 1 1/16 mile race.
Victory went to Midnight Bisou after stewards agreed with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who rode Midnight Bisou. Smith claimed foul against Monomoy Girl for interference inside the eighth pole.
Monomoy Girl and jockey Florent Geroux looked to be on her way to her sixth victory of the year without a loss and fifth consecutive Grade I win. She had barreled into the Parx stretch with a 1 ½-length advantage over Midnight Bisou, who had lost her two prior starts this year against Monomoy Girl.
Smith and Midnight Bisou, down on the inside, suddenly moved to the outside and she and Monomoy Girl battled to the wire. When Smith dismounted, he claimed foul.
Smith maintained that Monomoy Girl moved to the inside and impeded Midnight Bisou’s momentum. When Smith then tried to move Midnight Bisou to the outside, Monomoy Girl carried her even further outside.
“I was going straight as an arrow to stay in my path,” Smith said. “But when (Momomoy Girl) chose to come over and take it from me, I choose the outer route. There probably would not have been a DQ if (Geroux) would have stayed straight at that point, but he came out again and we wound up in the eight or nine path. I never got a straight run and we got beat only a neck. You got to do what you got to do.”
Geroux, obviously disappointed, was walking back to the jockey’s room after the disqualification became official.
“It was close,” he said. (Monomoy Girl) wandered around when she made the lead.”
When asked if he thought it was the right call, he shrugged.
“I am not the steward,” he said. “This was a million dollar race. A grade I race. I thought our filly was the best today.”
Midnight Bisou is now four-for-four in her career at the Cotillion distance. The daughter of Midnight Lute, who is owned by Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables LLC and Allen Racing LLC, has five wins in eight starts this year. In her last two starts, she was third in the Alabama and second in the Coaching Club American Oaks, both Grade Is at Saratoga this summer.
After finishing third in the Alabama, trainer Steve Asmussen kept Midnight Bisou at Saratoga to train.
“We thought she came in here really fresh and on her game,” said Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s assistant. “It’s tough to win like this, lose like that. We’ve all been there. That being said, she deserved to win the race.”
Midnight Bisou went off as the 4-1 second choice in the field of eight. Monomoy Girl was the 1-2 morning line favorite. The final time for the race was 1:45.95.
Midnight Bisou, whose next start figures to be the $2 million Breeder’ Cup Distaff, will likely see Monomoy Girl again.
Midnight Bisou paid $10.40. Wonder Gadot was a distant third, beaten 10 ½ lengths by the top pair. She rebounded from a last place finish against colts in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in her last start.
The final order of finish after that was Separationofpowers, Chocolate Martini, Dixie Serenade, Jump River and Norma’s Choice.