Blowout Scores Front-Running Victory In Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

In each of her last seven starts, Chad Brown-trained Blowout was in front in the early stages of her races, so it was not surprising to see jockey Flavien Prat put Peter Brant’s 5-year-old Dansili mare in front when the field raced past the Churchill Downs grandstand for the first time in Saturday’s Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile in Louisville, Ky.

When the field reached the far turn, with about three-eights of a mile to run, Blowout had opened a commanding lead of about eight lengths. It wasn’t insurmountable, however, as the field began to close in on Blowout at the top of the stretch. New York Girl and Abscond looked as though they might run past the front-runner, and then New York Girl came flying late.

But Prat had just enough horsepower left to get to the finish in front with Blowout, crossing the wire with a half-length to spare in 1:36.30 for the one mile on firm turf. The fractions were :24.28, :48.39, 1:12.99 and 1:24.71. Irish-bred New York Girl, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by John Velazquez, finished second, a head in front of Brendan Walsh-trained Zofelle, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., The latter nosed out  Abscond, who finished fourth, with Got Storm fifth and She’s Got You sixth. Jakarta was scratched.

Sent off as the 9-5 favorite, Blowout paid $5.80 for the win.

“She was running so easy up front and I thought the times were not that fast, so I was very happy,” said Prat. “Then when we came to the eighth pole, they all came after me and it looked like they might go by. But when she saw them, she regrouped and fired up again and we won it.”

Bred in England by the Wildenstein family’s Dayton Investments Ltd., Blowout was produced from Deep Impact mare Beauty Parlour, winner of the 2012 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas). She was purchased by Brant as a foal in Ireland at the Goffs November Sale in 2016.

“She has a tendency to wait on horses and we preferred to have a target but when the 1 scratched she found herself on the lead,” said Brown. “I thought Flavien did an excellent job settling her down, as you can see, she can be a little difficult to handle. I thought once they turned for home they were going to close in again and she was going to wait for horses but he said when she had the horses behind her, she kicked in again, thankfully. It’s very rare for me (to have a horse build a big lead), as you know a lot of my horses come from off the pace but we learned with this horse to let her do her thing and that’s where she wants to be. Mr. Brant was really determined to get a Grade 1 with her, it’s a wonderful family; he owns the mother. She was so close in the Matriarch and she did what Blowout does when she makes the lead, she waits on horses. A lot of her defeats are not due to fatigue it’s that she likes to wait on horses. She can be difficult; she wants to be forward, and she pulls, but she’s actually better with a target. And it’s hard to find two-turn races for her with a target because she’s so fast. She had it momentarily in the Matriarch but when she surged to the lead, she lost it and waited. I thought that might happen today turning for home; as easy as the fractions were for her, :48, you’d think she’d be gone, and sure enough they closed in on her because she will wait for horses. I thought they’d (the others) be a little closer than that. I was surprised with how far in front she was at one point. But guided by the fractions, looking at it, from a stamina point there was no issue. At that point it was mental. She’ll be heading to the Just a Game at Belmont next.”

Winner of three races, with seven seconds and one third from 11 starts, including the Wild Applause Stakes and Pebbles Stakes at Belmont Park in 2019, the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile was her first graded stakes score.

Prat first rode Blowout in her most recent start, the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar last Nov. 29, where she lost by a nose to Brown stablemate Viadera.

Owner Peter Brant (right) with Blowout and jockey Flavien Prat


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