Merriebelle Stable's Blue Prize (ARG), winner of last fall's Juddmonte Spinster (G1) here, will make her return to the races Friday when she goes postward as the likely favorite in the 25th running of the $100,000 Hilliard Lyons-Baird Doubledogdare (G3) going 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
Trained by Ignacio Correas IV, Blue Prize closed 2018 with a fourth-place finish behind champion Monomoy Girl in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs.
“We start Friday and see if we can get back (to the Breeders' Cup). That's the goal,” Correas said.
Blue Prize comes into Friday's race with two works here – 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 on April 10 and a half-mile in :47.40 on April 2 – following a steady stream of works beginning in mid-January at Tampa Bay Downs.
“She worked very well at Tampa and there was not one work that I did not like,” Correas said of the 6-year-old mare.
Correas spaced Blue Prize's races out last year with a stop in Maryland for the Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) Preakness Weekend and back to Kentucky for the Fleur de Lis (G2) to complete her spring campaign.
“There might be some variation (to the schedule), but it is more or less the same unless the owners change it,” Correas said.
Joe Bravo, who was aboard for the Juddmonte Spinster victory and the Breeders' Cup, retains the mount for Friday.
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