ARCADIA, CA – Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize shot to the lead at the top of the stretch and withstood a late run from the favored Midnight Bisou to champion Saturday’s $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking from the far outside post 11 at 8/1 odds under Joe Bravo, Blue Prize sat off the pace while Serengeti Empress blitzed to an early lead. Under Flavien Prat, the Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner posted opening fractions of :22.98, :46.68, and 1:10.83.
Still in seventh heading into the far turn, Bravo pressed “Go” and Blue Prize launched a three-wide bid, emerging at the top of the stretch in second. Continuing to gobble up ground in the stretch, Blue Prize passed Serengeti Empress at the 1/8 pole and immediately began widening her lead.
Despite the even-money favorite Midnight Bisou putting forth a strong kick in the stretch, Blue Prize was too far gone. The Ignacio Correas IV trainee gave both jockey and trainer their first Breeders’ Cup victories as she crossed 1 1/2 lengths ahead in a final time of 1:50.50 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the fast main track.
“There are so many different emotions I’ve got going on,” Bravo said. “I’ve been riding for over 30 years. I win a lot of races. This is not a race. This is something that – wow. That was my World Series.”
Though kept at bay in the stretch, Midnight Bisou was 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Serengeti Empress for second. Ollie’s Candy ran an even fourth, while Dunbar Road closed from last to take fifth.
Mo See Cal faded to sixth after tracking the early speed, beating Wow Cat for that position by a head. Street Band, Secret Spice, La Force, and Paradise Woods completed the order of finish.
Blue Prize’s win was her third straight following the Summer Colony Stakes at Saratoga and the Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland to improve her record to 23-10-8-3. The Argentinian-bred 6-year-old daughter of Pure Prize will head off to a second career in the breeding shed after having earned $2,692,253.
“First of all, I need to thank Blue Prize,” Correas said. “She has been so great for all of us. And I want to thank Joe. It’s been a great ride. Probably be sad to see her go, but they’re going to take good care of her, and she’s the horse of a lifetime.”
Blue Prize returned $19.80 to win, $5.60 to place, and $4.20 to show. Midnight Bisou brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, while Serengeti Empress paid $6 to show.