Blue Prize (ARG) Gives Connections First Breeders’ Cup Win In Distaff, Midnight Bisou Second

After a fourth-place finish in last year’s edition, Blue Prize (ARG) claimed victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, giving her owner, trainer and jockey their first Breeders’ Cup win.

Blue Prize, who qualified for the Distaff with a rare second career victory in the G1 Spinster at Keeneland last month, stayed well out of the race early, making a sweeping move three-wide on the final turn to challenge pacesetter Serengeti Empress. The plucky chestnut made quick work of Serengeti Empress and held off late-flying favorite Midnight Bisou by 1 1/2 lengths. The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.50.

Serengeti Empress was third.

Joe Bravo was aboard the 6-year-old, who is trained by Ignacio Correas IV for owner Merriebelle Stable LLC.

“The trip was great,” said Bravo. “She broke a little slower than I expected, but she was moving up on the backside nice. I looked over and saw Mike Smith kind of asking Midnight Bisou a little soon. Blue Prize was really running her race. When we turned for home, she went on with it.”

“I don’t know what to say about this,” said Merriebelle partner John Moores. “This was totally a shock to me. I think the last 20, 30 seconds of that race I’ll never forget as long as I live. It’s been an unbelievable experience.”

Midnight Bisou trainer Steve Asmussen indicated he was pleased with his filly’s finish, given a rather challenging trip.

“Nothing Midnight Bisou does for us is disappointing,” he said. “She had a tremendous amount to overcome with all the dirt she took early. A quality filly best her and got first run on her around the turn. It took Mike (Smith) quite a bit to get her out it that just left her too much to do. The filly came back completely covered (in dirt) and she’s such a champion that she never gave up. She continued to run and I’m unbelievably proud of her. She’s unbelievable. There is no give up in her.  For her to keep coming under those circumstances is unbelievable because around the turn she looked hopeless. But, she just showed her class. She kept coming.”

Blue Prize paid $19.80 to win.

Blue Prize began her career in Argentina, where she won the G1 Seleccion Stakes at Palermo before being elected that country’s champion 3-year-old filly. Agents John Stuart and Peter Bance brokered a deal to sell Blue Prize from breeder Bioart S.A. to Merriebelle Stable and in 2017 she was imported to the U.S. Correas, who is a fourth-generation horseman, opened a public stable in the U.S. in 2015 with one horse, after working under Alec Head and Billy Badgett. Blue Prize gave Correas a breakthrough first Grade 1 in last year’s G1 Spinster at Keeneland.

Blue Prize is the daughter of Pure Prize, out of Not For Sale (ARG) mare Blues for Sale (ARG).

“It’s been a great ride,” Correas said. “Probably be sad to see her go, but they’re going to take good care of her. And it’s the horse of a lifetime. So I don’t know if I’m going to have one like her again, but at least I was blessed to have one. And that, in a trainer’s career, is a lot to say.”

Merriebelle connections said they had not made a final decision on whether to retire Blue Prize to the breeding shed next year or bring her back for another season.

Merriebelle is also a relatively new operation, having gotten into the business in 2013 when owners John Moores and Charles Noell purchased 30 horses from Ireland’s Kilfrush Stud. The stable now has bases in Ireland and Kentucky at Chanteclaire and the former Stonewall Stallions and is involved in flat and steeplechase racing in Europe, Australia, and the U.S.

The complete order of finish was Blue Prize, Midnight Bisou, Serengeti Empress, Ollie’s Candy, Dunbar Road, Mo See Cal, Wow Cat (CHI), Street Band, Secret Spice, La Force (GER), Paradise Woods.

Midnight Bisou may have the chance to avenge her hard-trying second, as her connections announced Saturday morning she would be withdrawn from the Fasig-Tipton November Sale and would run again in 2020.

The post Blue Prize (ARG) Gives Connections First Breeders’ Cup Win In Distaff, Midnight Bisou Second appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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