Fasig-Tipton Next Up for Blue Prize


Blue Prize | Horsephotos


Blue Prize (Arg) (Pure Prize) will be one of two Breeders' Cup winners from championship weekend at Santa Anita to be offered at Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Following her victory in Saturday's GI Breeders' Cup Distaff, the 6-year-old mare arrived at the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds Sunday afternoon and she will be consigned to Tuesday's star-studded auction by Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services on behalf of John Moores and Charles Noell's Merriebelle Stable as hip 98.

“We are going through a number of options now and we have a couple of days to figure it out,” Merriebelle Stable's manager Peter Bance said Sunday. “So we have not concluded anything one way or the other, but she will be there at the sale on Tuesday and it's just a question of how badly we want her and how badly someone else wants her.”

Blue Prize began her career in her native Argentina for breeder Ignacio Pavlovsky before being purchased privately by Merriebelle and relocating to race in the U.S. in 2017.

“My partner John Stuart and I have been going to South America for a long time,” Bance explained. “We have developed a good working, very trusting, relationship with Ignacio Pavlovsky, who is a breeder in Argentina. We were looking for a good race filly who could hopefully come up here and perform at the top in America. He bred her and he raced her down there and we bought her.”

Blue Prize's six U.S. graded races in the U.S. include back-to-back victories in the GI Juddmonte Spinster S. and she put an exclamation point on her racing career with a 1 1/2-length victory over Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) in Saturday's Distaff.

Asked if the mare had lived up to expectations, Bance said, “I'd say she's exceeded them. I don't know what more we could ask of her.”

Of Blue Prize's victory on Breeders' Cup weekend, Bance added, “I try to be stoic about things. And the older I get, the easier it is to be that way. But it was very exciting. Particularly to see one of the owners [Moores] who was there become so happy and emotional. He's a guy who owned the Padres and he said yesterday was his greatest moment in sports in his life.”

Out of Blues for Sale (Arg) (Not For Sale {Arg}), Blue Prize's pedigree might not at first blush be recognizable to U.S. buyers.

“It's a bit of a challenge because of her pedigree to figure out what she is worth,” Bance said. “That's the only part of the challenge is the female family. But when you study it closely, it really is not a challenge. You've got to pull back some layers and if you go down several dams, you will see it is one of the great Virginia families of Buckland Farm. So she comes from a deep tap-root American family. It's hard to find a lot of mares down there who have American families, but she was one. Which was one of the reasons we bought her.”

Beyond her pedigree, Bance said of Blue Prize, “She is a beautiful physical specimen. She is just a gorgeous mare. So we're going to see. We may well hold on to her. It's all about what she brings. I can promise you, she won't go through for nothing.”

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