The 6-year-old Argentinean-bred bested heavy favorite Midnight Bisou.
Saturday’s $1.84 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff was supposed to be all about Midnight Bisou, but Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize floored the even-money favorite at Santa Anita. The 8-1 chance became the third Argentinean-bred to capture the Distaff, following Hall of Famers Bayakoa (1989-90) and Paseana (1992).
The first Breeders’ Cup winner for both trainer Ignacio Correas IV and jockey Joe Bravo, Blue Prize rallied from well back. Up front, Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress tried to repeat that exhibition of speed by setting a strong pace. Midnight Bisou, reserved about midpack on the inside, didn’t improve position as might have been expected. Blue Prize passed Midnight Bisou down the backstretch and uncorked a bold move on the far turn.
Entering the stretch, Serengeti Empress had put away her early pursuers, but Blue Prize was bearing down with all the momentum. She rolled past the pacesetter and got the decisive jump on Midnight Bisou. Although Midnight Bisou was churning her way into contention, she couldn’t bridge the gap to the winner.
Blue Prize held sway by 1 ½ lengths while clocking 1:50.50 for 1 1/8 miles on a fast but tiring track. Midnight Bisou, sustaining her first loss of an eight-race campaign in 2019, pulled 3 1/4 lengths clear of Serengeti Empress. Ollie’s Candy finished fourth, followed by Dunbar Road, Mo See Cal, Wow Cat, Street Band, Secret Spice, La Force, and Paradise Woods.
The 6-year-old Blue Prize boosted her bankroll to $2,692,253 from a record of 23-10-8-3. She was making her second appearance in the Distaff, having finished fourth to champion Monomoy Girl in 2018.
By the Storm Cat stallion Pure Prize, Blue Prize scored her first top-level win in her native Argentina in the 2016 Gran Premio Seleccion and earned her U.S. breakthrough in the 2017 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs. She added two more graded wins under the twin spires in the 2018 Fleur de Lis Handicap and the Locust Grove, and she has captured the Spinster at Keeneland twice. In her Spinster title defense last out on Oct. 6, Blue Prize overturned Elate, who came back to finish fourth versus males in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.