Flecks of dirt, like stars, dotted her coat as black as the midnight sky. In places, her sparkling sweat smudged those spots into streaks like shooting stars, like all our reminders that the nighttime heavens are more than a static void.
Those trails in that chance painting of the nighttime sky serve as reminders of the earthly deeds that formed the picture. The path of a shooting star through the pitch-dark firmament glitters and sweeps as quickly, emphatically, and memorably as Midnight Bisou swept past seven other fillies under the unrelenting California daylight.
The path of a shooting star is sure, determined by the positions of the bodies that surround it, defined by mass, by velocity, by the universal law of gravity. Midnight Bisou’s path home in the Santa Anita Oaks was just as sure. It was determined by the pace in front of her, the positions of the fillies around her. Her trajectory was defined by factors almost as dependable as physics itself: the unshakable nerve, the unfaltering mind, and the unwavering hands of Mike Smith, a man who knows the contours of the racetrack as well as Isaac Newton himself knew the forces that move everything our naked eyes can see.
But, the stars and streaks across her neck don’t only stand for the feats Midnight Bisou has already accomplished, but also for her future. We speak of gravity, of laws, of order…but even when we can sit down and calculate the path of a meteor, we still allow ourselves to follow shooting stars with our eyes, to marvel, to make a wish. And, as the friends and fans of Midnight Bisou gaze into the heavens over the next few weeks, they may see a sparkling trail across the sky. They may think of their filly and hope for a blanket of lilies to confirm stardom, where once just flecks of salt-sweat mud only suggested it to anyone who looked closely enough.
Photo by Casey Phillips and the team at Eclipse Sportswire