Trainer Ignacio Correas IV reported that Merriebelle Stable's Blue Prize (ARG) exited her repeat victory in Sunday's $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) in good shape as preparations began for Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) run at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
“She ate up everything last night and is good this morning,” Correas said of the 6-year-old mare, who became the fourth horse to win the Juddmonte Spinster in back-to-back years.
Last in the field of five in the early going, Blue Prize was steered to the outside at the head of the stretch by Joe Bravo and eventually wore down favored Elate.
“At the three-sixteenths pole, I saw they were not going away from her,” Correas said. “I didn't know if she would win, but I knew she had a big chance.”
Blue Prize follows in the tradition of South American runners that get better with age, including the likes of another two-time Juddmonte Spinster winner, Bayakoa (ARG), who triumphed here at ages 5 and 6, and Paseana (ARG), the 1993 Juddmonte Spinster winner at age 6.
Correas said he would start working on shipping plans for Blue Prize, who finished fourth in last year's Distaff at Churchill Downs. The bulk of her training for the Distaff will be done here.
Elate, owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, returned to trainer Bill Mott's barn at Churchill after the race Sunday.
Whit Beckman, assistant to trainer Chad Brown, said Peter Brant's third-place finisher, Dunbar Road, came out of the race fine with plans to be determined.
As the lone 3-year-old in the race and facing older horses in Grade 1 company for the first time, Dunbar Road was beaten only 1¼ lengths as the second choice. “She has a bright future,” Beckman said.
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