After placing in her first five North American starts, Blue Prize broke through with a tour-de-force victory in Thursday’s $200,000 Falls City H. (G2) at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old filly tracked in second to the far turn and blew away the competition entering the stretch, striding away to an 8 ½-length decision. James Graham was up for trainer Ignacio Correas.
An Argentinean-bred daughter of Pure Prize, Blue Prize made her first four starts in her native country, finishing second in a Group 1 and Group 2 event before garnering her first stakes tally in the 1 ¼-mile Seleccion (G1) at Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo in October 2016. The chestnut was sent to the United States for a 2017 campaign and made her first start stateside at Churchill Downs in mid-June, finishing second in an allowance.
Blue Prize shipped to Saratoga for her next two appearances, grabbing runner-up honors in an allowance and the restricted Summer Colony, and returned to Churchill Downs to finish second in the Locust Grove (G3) on September 16. She was exiting a third in the October 8 Spinster (G1) on a sloppy Keeneland track.
“She took a little bit to put things together mentally when I first got her to the United States,” Correas said. “She figured it out in her second start at Saratoga. I think she didn’t really like the wet track at Keeneland in her last start but besides that she’s run really well. I thought she was training the best she has been in her career leading into this race and she proved it.”
Owned by Merriebelle Stable LLC, Blue Prize left the Falls City starting gate as the 3-1 third choice among six rivals and completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.30.
“This horse just doesn’t get tired,” Graham added. “I think the distance today was perfect for her.”
Money’soncharlotte sped forward to set the pace and the 2-1 second choice established early splits in :23.82 and :47.76. Blue Prize raced a clear second, only a half-length back after the opening half-mile, and steadily advanced to take a short lead rounding the far turn. The pacesetter checked out after being overhauled, but Faithfully was advancing closer in third as the even-money favorite.
Blue Prize eliminated any suspense turning for home, quickly accelerating away from her nearest challenger, and rolled home as much the best.
Tiger Moth closed from last for second at 14-1, a length better than Faithfully in third. It was another 3 ¾ lengths to Rachel’s Temper in fourth and Motown Lady and Money’soncharlotte completed the order.
Blue Prize was bred by Bioart B A. and hails from the Not for Sale mare Blues for Sale, a multiple Group 2 winner in Argentina.