LOUISVILLE, KY – Merriebelle Stable LLC’s Blue Prize finally broke on Thursday, blasting off late to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Off well from post 4 under James Graham, Blue Prize tracked Money’soncharlotte‘s early pace from the rail through splits of :23.82 and :47.46 before taking command nearing the 1/4 pole. Angled off of the rail for the stretch drive, the Argentinian-bred Blue Prize drew off to score her first American stakes win by 8 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:49.30 for the 1 1/8-mile main track event.
“This horse just doesn’t get tired,” Graham said. “I think the distance today was perfect for her.”
Tiger Moth moved up from her trailing position to get second, a length in front of Faithfully, with Rachel’s Temper, Motown Lady, and Money’soncharlotte completing the order of finish. Weep No More was scratched.
Blue Prize had hit the board in three previous stakes attempts before today and previously won a Grade 1 race last year in her native country. Trained by Ignacio Correas IV, the 4-year-old daughter of Pure Prize now has a career record of 10-3-6-1 with earnings of $333,860.
“She took a little bit to put things together mentally when I first got her to the United States,” Correas said. “She figured it out in her second start at Saratoga. I think she didn’t really like the wet track at Keeneland in her last start, but besides that, she’s run really well. I thought she was training the best she has been in her career leading into this race and she proved it.”
Blue Prize returned $8 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3.20 to show. Tiger Moth brought back $10.80 to place and $5.20 to show, while Faithfully paid $2.60 to show.