Blue Prize Eyes Third Straight Score in Juddmonte Spinster Stakes
Courtesy of Aaron Halterman of the Racing Dudes
A field of 11 is set to contest the Grade 1, $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keenelend Race Course. The race serves as a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” event for the Longines Distaff on November 3 at Churchill Downs. The talented Blue Prize is the most established entry. The 5-year-old mare has already won a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race, June’s Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs. Last time out, she won the Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes at Churchill Downs as well, showing love for that track. With the Breeders’ Cup being held at Churchill Downs, that is good news for her.
The winner of the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes will receive an automatic position in the Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff this fall at Churchill Downs. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the person who nominated the foal or racehorse. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based internationally.
Let’s take a look at the full field:
#1 Tiger Moth – Trainer Brad Cox is having the best year of his career, and this is the horse who kick-started the whole thing in late January when she won the Grade 3 Sam Houston Ladies Classic. Since that race, she has faced some tough competition while failing to hit the board in her last five starts. She was a well-beaten eighth when running in this race last year.
#2 Chocolate Martini – This 3-year-old faces elders for the first time after a solid season against fillies her own age. Her Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks win propelled her to the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, where she was a well-beaten 10th. Following that race, she finished third in a pair of tough races before a disappointing fifth last time out in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes at Parx. Her strategy is to drop back and make one run.
#3 Fuhriously Kissed – Owner Loooch Racing is not afraid to take a shot in big-time races, a fact that is no more evident than with this mare. She has run in five graded stakes this season, hitting the board just once. Last time out, she dropped down to allowance company at Thistledown and won by 1 1/2 lengths. That was meant as a confidence-booster before giving her another shot against top-notch company.
#4 Eskimo Kisses – She has consistently shown up with solid performances throughout her 3-year-old season. However, last time out was the best of her career when she won the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes by 6 1/2 lengths. That race’s conditions set up perfectly for her late-closing style and she loved going the 1 1/4 mile distance. She will be tough to hold off if the pace sets up for her again in this spot, even though the distance is a little shorter.
#5 Southernperfection – This filly makes her stakes debut after running well at Thistledown this season. Lately, she has been running better than ever, with two wins and two seconds in her last four starts. She will be moving up in class for this race while also stretching out in distance. Look for her to be on the pace early.
#6 Sassy Sienna – It has been an up-and-down year for this 3-year-old filly who tackles older horses for the first time. The highlight of her season came at Oaklawn Park when she captured the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes by a nose over Wonder Gadot. After that, she finished sixth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks before running second last time out in the Grade 3 Monmouth Park Oaks.
#7 Talk Veuve to Me – This daughter of Violence is set to race against older fillies for the first time after a nice 3-year-old campaign. Two races back, she won the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks by 4 3/4 lengths in front-running fashion. Before that, she was second here in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes behind the superstar filly Monomoy Girl. You can draw a line through her poor finish in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes because that distance was too far for her.
#8 Champagne Problems – She comes into this race having won two of her last three. Last time out, she was second in the Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes at Churchill Downs, finishing second to Blue Prize by a nose. Two races back, she picked up her first career graded stakes win in the Groupie Doll Stakes at Ellis Park when she made an impressive closing move down the lane.
#9 Skeptic – This 3-year-old filly is flying under the radar despite having won three of her last four, including the Grade 3 Monmouth Park Oaks most recently. The one poor effort in that stretch came in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks when she finished fourth, beaten by 11 1/2 lengths. If you draw a line through that race, though, she has a shot to make some noise here.
#10 Pacific Wind – Trainer Chad Brown has quietly had a nice 2018 season with this daughter of Curlin. She opened the year with a powerful optional claiming win at Keeneland before coming home strong to win the Grade 2 Ruffian Stakes at Belmont Park. However, she was no match for her rivals in the Grade 1 Odgen Phipps Stakes her next time out, and most recently, she once struggled to a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Shuvee Stakes. That she won her lone start here is a positive sign that could lead to a bounce back race.
#11 Blue Prize – She has won three of her last four, all against stakes company. Two races back, she won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs, which earned her a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff. Last time out, she showed heart by digging down deep to edge out Champagne Problems in the Grade 3 Locust Grove Stakes.
The Juddmonte Spinster Stakes shares the card with two other Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Races” at Keeneland this Sunday, a day when Belmont Park will play host to three additional “Win and You’re In” challenge races. The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races will come to a close on Wednesday, October 10 at Keeneland Race Course with the running of the Grade 2 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes. That race will serve as a “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
For more coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, head over to racingdudes.com
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