Blue Prize overcame an adventurous run in the stretch to outrun Champagne Problems by three-quarters of a length in the 63rd running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster for fillies and mares on Sunday at Keeneland.
Trained by Ignacio Correas IV and ridden by Joe Bravo, Blue Prize won her second Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win And You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff to be run Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. Previously, she won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs.
“She got lonely. She made the race exciting, didn’t she?” Bravo said. “She’s got a lot of talent. Ignacio gave me a heads up in the Paddock. He said, ‘Listen, make sure to keep her attention at all times, keep her focused,’ and now we see why, right? We weren’t expecting that. After she went out there, I left her alone. She has a beautiful stride — I thought, she’s better than everybody in here.
“When she got to about the three-sixteenth pole, she started drifting. I got into her left-handed a few times. I don’t know if it was the stick that caused it. She kind of went in before I used the stick. I think she was waiting on competition. She kinda did it with control. Wow, she’s talented.”
Blue Prize returned $11, $5 and $3.80. Champagne Problems, ridden by Calvin Borel, returned $7.80 and $5.20 and finished 1½ lengths in front of Pacific Wind who, paid $5.20 to show under Luis Saez.
Also earning Breeders’ Cup berths Sunday were Current, winner of the Grade 3, $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon and Strike Silver, winner of the inaugural $200,000 Indian Summer, both races for 2-year-olds.
In the Dixiana Bourbon, Current closed fastest of all to edge Henley’s Joy by a nose with Salvator Mundi another nose back in third. With the win, Current secured a berth in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to be run Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.
“When we straightened for home, I felt like he started running,” jockey Jose Ortiz said. “I put him in the clear, but when I hit him left-handed, he drifted out in the two or three path. But he was running. Inside the eighth pole to the wire, I was hoping I’d get there. It was so close, I didn’t know if I had it. ... He kicked home very well.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher previously won the Dixiana Bourbon with Interactif (2009), Bittel Road (2008) and Twilight Meteor (2006).
Current returned $11.80, $5.40 and $3.80. Henley’s Joy, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $4.80 and $4 with Salvator Mundi paying $14.60 to show under Brian Hernandez Jr.