December 1, 2023

Blowout controls pace in Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

Blowout, with Flavien Prat up, wins the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (Photo by Jamie Newell/TwinSpires)

With the scratch of pace rival Jakarta, 19-10 favorite Blowout capitalized as the controlling speed in Saturday’s $500,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2). The Chad Brown mare overcame her habit of settling for minor awards, notably a series of four close seconds including the Nov. 29 Matriarch (G1) last out.

Jockey Flavien Prat, who rode Blowout for the first time that day at Del Mar, regained the mount at Churchill Downs. As Brown told’s Ed DeRosa pre-race, he was pleased with Prat’s ability to get her to settle. That knack came in handy since Blowout was trying to be headstrong again.

Gliding to the lead, Peter M. Brant’s colorbearer was already clear passing the wire for the first time. Then Blowout wanted to live up to her name. After the opening quarter-mile in :24.28 on the firm turf, she extended her margin to eight lengths through a half in :48.39. But under Prat’s cajoling, Blowout looked more relaxed while reaching six furlongs in 1:12.99.

The field caught up by the top of the stretch, and 5-2 second choice Zofelle quickened as the main danger. Blowout had more up her sleeve, however. Repelling Zofelle and holding off New York Girl by a half-length, the daughter of Dansili clocked 1:36.30 to earn her first graded win.

“She was running so easy up front,” Prat told Churchill publicity, “and I thought the times were not that fast, so I was very happy. 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.”

The rallying New York Girl headed Zofelle for runner-up honors, a fine performance considering the lack of a contested pace.

“There wasn’t a lot of speed in there,” Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez said. “That didn’t help me at all. She really closed like a really good horse, but I didn’t have the pace in front of me. That hurt us bad. Still, she ran great.”

Abscond, Blowout’s nearest pursuer early, was just another nose away in fourth. Got Stormy was in range down the stretch but failed to pick up in fifth, beating only the ever-trailing She’s Got You.

Blowout’s resume now reads 12-4-7-1, $718,600. The five-year-old British import has competed almost exclusively in stakes since her debut win at Tampa and never lost by much.

Runner-up in the 2019 Florida Oaks (G3) and Aqueduct’s Memories of Silver, Blowout broke through in the Wild Applause at Belmont Park. She posted near-misses in the Lake George (G3) and Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga before wiring the Pebbles back at Belmont. Nailed late in the Valley View (G3) at Keeneland that fall, she was edged in her 2020 allowance comeback at the Spa. Stablemate Viadera nabbed her in both the Noble Damsel (G3) and Matriarch.

Brown recounted Blowout’s Distaff Turf Mile trip in the context of her career:

“She has a tendency to wait on horses, and we preferred to have a target. But when the 1 scratched (Jakarta), she found herself on the lead.

“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 heard 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 (Beauty Parlour). 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.”

Brown added that Blowout would pursue a coveted Grade 1 in the June 5 Just a Game (G1) on Belmont Day.

Bred by Dayton Investments in Great Britain, Blowout was purchased as a weanling for €450,000 at the Goffs November Foal Sale. At the same venue’s corresponding Breeding Stock Sale, Brant bought her dam, 2012 French 1000 Guineas (G1) heroine Beauty Parlour, for €1.6 million. Beauty Parlour, who was also second in the French Oaks (G1), is a British-bred daughter of Japanese legend Deep Impact. The mare is a full sister to Barocci, a French stakes winner and later twice Grade 2-placed in California.

Blowout’s second dam, multiple Group 3-placed stakes scorer Bastet, is a Giant’s Causeway half to Australian great Might and Power. This is also the family of multiple Australian Group 1 star Mosheen and Hong Kong champion Lucky Owners.