Learn more about the 5-year-old mare and her journey to Santa Anita Park in this "Getting to Know" piece.
Argentina-bred Blue Prize started her career in her home country where she won a Group 1 race and was placed in two other group stakes in 2016 before moving to the barn United States barn of Ignacio Correas IV for the 2017 season. The mare looked like she was destined to be a bridesmaid after four straight second-place finishes to start her U.S. career and a third in the Spinster but she put it all together in that year’s Grade 2 Falls City Handicap to win her first U.S. race.
While her 2018 campaign got off to a rough start with a seventh in the Grade 2 Azeri, that proved to be the only time the consistent mare has ever finished worse than fourth with the mare bouncing back for a Top Flight Invitational score in her next race.
Blue Prize has danced nearly every dance in the Distaff division and won four of her seven starts last season, with her first Grade 1 victory coming in last year’s Spinster after victories in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis and Grade 3 Locust Grove.
If winning the Spinster wasn’t enough of an indication, Blue Prize proved that she deserves to run against the top females in her division when finishing fourth, just 1 ½ lengths behind Monomoy Girl, in the 2018 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff. That race saw her finish just a head behind this year’s leading mare Midnight Bisou in third to earn a 113 Equibase Speed Figure – her second-best figure ever.
This year, Blue Prize has returned to her bridesmaid ways with a second and two thirds in her first three starts of the year. That included two finishes behind Elate earlier this year but Blue Prize looks to be getting back into form at just the right time.
Returning to Saratoga for the first time since 2017, Blue Prize registered her first victory of the year when winning the Summer Colony Stakes by a neck. That set her up perfectly for a rematch with Elate.
The Spinster involved a short five-horse field but with four Grade 1 winners and one Grade 2 winner, it wasn’t going to be an easy contest. Blue Prize went to the back in her customary style but when jockey Joe Bravo unleashed her powerful kick, she was ready to go. It wasn’t a flashy victory but the mare finished half a length in front of Elate to win her way into the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
The winner of nine of her 22 starts with 11 other top-three finishes, the $300,000 Spinster victory pushed Blue Prize past $1.5 million in career earnings.
Blue Prize is by a stallion familiar to the U.S. in Pure Prize. A son of 1994 champion 3-year-old filly Heavenly Prize, Pure Prize was a Grade 2 winner in the United States and proved to be a useful sire in North America, siring 42 stakes winners before permanently relocating to South America a few years ago after shuttling there previously.
During one of his shuttle journeys, he was visited by Group 2 winner Blues for Sale, the dam of Blue Prize. That mare is also the dam of Group 3 placed Baron Blue and has produced six winners from six to race overall, with Blue Prize her best foal.
Blues for Sale is also a full-sister to listed stakes winner and U.S. graded stakes-placed Cure for Sale with the pair hailing from the family of Grade 2 Stephen Foster runner-up Pleasant Tango and Argentina Grade 1 winner Knock. While there isn’t much U.S. black-type in Blue Prize’s family, internationally It has proven to be quite successful.
There is no doubt that Blue Prize can handle the Distaff distance and is at the level of those she’ll be facing in the race with a victory against Elate (who may head to the Classic instead) and a close finish behind Midnight Bisou last year. Blue Prize is definitely a consistent mare; the only problem is that she’s consistently finishing second or third instead of first in many cases.
The mare is almost guaranteed to be there at the end, though it should be noted that in each of the Distaffs in California this decade none of the winners have come from any further back than mid-pack. Blue Prize always puts in her best effort but with the Distaff’s record when it comes to winners, it may be better to put a place or show bet on her instead of a winning one. Definitely don’t leave her off your exacta and trifecta bets if she trains well at Santa Anita in the days leading up to the Breeders’ Cup.