Blue Prize ducks out but still lands Spinster

Keeneland’s recap

LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 7, 2018) – Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize (ARG) overcame an adventurous run in the stretch to turn back Champagne Problems by three-quarters of a length to win the 63rd running of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) for fillies and mares before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 14,223.

Blue Prize earned her second “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Coady Photography

Trained by Ignacio Correas IV and ridden by Joe Bravo, Blue Prize won her second Breeders’ Cup Challenge race that provides the winner a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. Previously she won the Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Also earning Breeders’ Cup berths Sunday were Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Current, winner of the $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) and John Oxley’s Strike Silver, winner of the inaugural $200,000 Indian Summer, both races for 2-year-olds.

In the Juddmonte Spinster, longshot Southernperfection led the field of 11 through fractions of :23.79, :47.62 and 1:12.27. On the far turn, Bravo moved to the far outside, circling the leaders and striking the front turning for home.

Blue Prize quickly opened a daylight advantage, but twice before the eighth pole ducked out sharply beyond the middle of the track, allowing Champagne Problems, who was skimming the rail, to reach near even terms. Bravo got Blue Prize straightened out inside the sixteenth pole and drew clear for the victory in 1:50.02.

A 5-year-old Argentine-bred daughter of Pure Prize out of the Not For Sale mare Blues for Sale (ARG), Blue Prize won her fourth graded stakes in North America and first Grade 1. A Group 1 winner in Argentina, Blue Prize elevated her career earnings to $964,753 with Sunday’s $300,000 check.

Blue Prize returned $11, $5 and $3.80. Champagne Problems, ridden by Calvin Borel, returned $7.80 and $5.20 and finished 1½ lengths in front of Pacific Wind who, paid $5.20 to show under Luis Saez.

It was another 3¼ lengths back to Fuhriously Kissed who was followed in order by Chocolate Martini, Talk Veuve to Me, favored Eskimo Kisses, Skeptic, Southernperfection, Tiger Moth and Sassy Sienna.

Current Prevails in Three-Horse Photo to Win Dixiana Bourbon

Current won the Dixiana Bourbon in a three-horse photo. Coady Photography

Current closed fastest of all to edge Henley’s Joy by a nose with Salvator Mundi another nose back in third. With the Dixiana Bourbon win, Current secured a berth in the starting gate for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Current covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:45.10. It was the fourth victory in the race for Pletcher, who had won previously with Interactif (2009), Bittel Road (2008) and Twilight Meteor (2006).

It was the third win on the program for the Pletcher-Ortiz combo.

Favored War of Will took the lead out of the gate and led the field of 13 through fractions of :23.59, :48.82 and 1:14.30. Under Drayden Van Dyke, War of Will maintained a daylight advantage until mid-stretch where Henley’s Joy loomed up on the rail with Salvador Mundi to his outside. The threesome raced as a team to the final 50 yards when War of Will backed out.

Current, sixth at the eighth pole, closed widest of all to nail the dueling leaders at the wire by a nose.

A Keeneland sales graduate, Current is a Kentucky-bred son of Curlin out of the Storm Cat mare Crosswinds. Now a winner of two of three starts, all on the grass, Current added $150,000 to his bankroll to boost his total earnings to $201,450.

Current returned $11.80, $5.40 and $3.80. Henley’s Joy, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $4.80 and $4 with Salvator Mundi paying $14.60 to show under Brian Hernandez Jr.

It was another three-quarters of a length back to War of Will with Mick’s Star, Tracksmith, More Than A. P., Blockbuster, Forloveofcountry, Shazier, Mr Wrench It, Pradar and Ice City Ghost following in order.

Strike Silver Rallies from Far Back to Win Indian Summer

Strike Silver earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint by taking Keeneland’s new Indian Summer Stakes. Coady Photography

In taking the inaugural running of the Indian Summer, Strike Silver came from next to last at the eighth pole in the 12-horse field to nail Chelsea Cloisters in the shadow of the wire by a neck. The victory clinched a spot for Strike Silver in the inaugural $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint to be run Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Strike Silver covered the 5½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:05.00.

Mister Banjoman rocketed out of the gate and opened a clear lead while cutting out fractions of :21.68 and :45.25 while Strike Silver raced at the tail of the field.

Mister Banjoman maintained his advantage to mid-stretch where Chelsea Cloisters emerged from the pack to open a clear advantage. At this juncture, Leparoux had angled Strike Silver into the clear and in a full drive, passed the majority of the field and caught Chelsea Cloisters a few yards before the finish line.

Strike Silver is a Kentucky-bred son of Violence out of the Pulpit mare Frank’s Hope. The Indian Summer represented the first grass start for Strike Silver, who earned $120,000 for the victory to boost his earnings to $180,600 with a record of 3-2-1-0.

Strike Silver returned $13, $6.60 and $5.20. Chelsea Cloisters, ridden by Jose Ortiz, paid $5.40 and $4.40, with Reward the Miracle finishing 1¼ lengths back in third under Jarred Journet and paying $13.60 to show.

Favored All About It finished another nose back in fourth and was followed in order by Blame the Frog, Credit Swap, Hide the Demon, Next Dance, Nitrous, Mister Banjoman, The Sicarii and Jo Jo Air.

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Jennie Rees

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