September 25, 2022

2019 Breeders’ Cup Distaff Transcript

Blue Prize wins the Breeders' Cup Distaff 2019
Horsephotos.com/Cecilia Gustavsson

Breeders’ Cup Distaff

Saturday, November 2, 2019

  • Joe Bravo
  • Peter Bance
  • John Moores
  • Ignacio Correas

THE MODERATOR: We’ll get started with Joe Bravo, the winning jockey in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff aboard Blue Prize. We’ll also welcome in the winning owners, John Moores and Peter Bance, and winning trainer Ignacio Correas.

This is Joe’s first Breeders’ Cup victory in a storied career. And, Joe, we’d like to hear from you first. You said you and Blue Prize both came back a little bit dirty. Describe the race for us.

RELATED: Blue Prize denies Midnight Bisou in Breeders’ Cup Distaff

JOE BRAVO: Well, there is honestly so many different emotions I’ve got going on. The easiest part of it all was probably the race. She really took control down the backside.

First thing, let’s go back to the paddock. Ignacio gave me a leg up on the filly today, he said, listen, just try to keep her quiet, she’s really sitting on go. Probably the best physically I’ve ever seen Blue Prize. She came over there really intense but in control about everything.

She broke from the gate really relaxed, comfortable underneath me. They ran away from me a little further. We expected it to be, so didn’t want to panic because I knew she was so sharp. We got down the backside, it just made me feel so comfortable. Just watching the pace on the front end, seemed like everyone was working.

But kept an eye on Midnight Bisou. You can’t disrespect a champion filly like that. But down the backside, looked like we took over and passed her pretty handily before we got to the turn. We got into the turn, starting going around Johnny, kind of hollered because it kind of got a little tight, the inside horse came out a little bit, so had to give him a little room. When I’m doing that, kind of lost a little bit of ground ourselves.

But when we turned for home, Blue Prize knew who she had to pass. She went after Serengeti Empress. And honestly, inside the last 16th of the mile, it was just a dream come true. It really was. It got so for real for me. It was time like stopped, and Ignacio got me my dream. Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Joe, you said there were a lot of emotions before you took us through the race, what are they?

JOE BRAVO: I’ve been riding for over 30 years. I win a lot of races. This is not a race. This is something that — wow. Mr. Moore, that was my World Series. You won the World Series, but you know what? That there was wow.

I don’t know how I’m going to sleep tonight. But thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Mr. Correas, we’d like to hear from you, your impression of how the race was won.

IGNACIO CORREAS: First of all, I need to thank Blue Prize. She has been so great for all of us. And I think we she has shown the only change that we have from last year to this one is just wait a little bit more in the last three races, and she has been unreal.

Essentially that was the only thing that we did. And, well, I think we were very lucky to do that. And I want to thank Joe. It’s also my first Breeders’ Cup, hopefully not the last one, and thanks to Merriebelle Stables for all the support they gave me.

It’s been a great ride. Probably be sad to see her go, but they’re going to take good care of her. And it’s the horse of a lifetime. So I don’t know if I’m going to have one like her again, but at least I was blessed to have one. And that, in a trainer’s career, is a lot to say.

THE MODERATOR: John, it was assumed that this would be her final start, but then in the Winner’s Circle, I don’t know if it was the moment or if you were being serious, is there a chance of a campaign next year as a seven-year-old?

JOHN MOORES: That’s over my pay grade, to be real honest. I wish my partner, longtime friend, Charlie Noell, were here. But Charlie and I’ll have a heart-to-heart discussion about this. It’s just hard to see a better horse than Blue Prize. It’s been unbelievable.

THE MODERATOR: Elaborate a little more on this experience of owning such a nice mare and having it culminate today with this performance.

JOHN MOORES: To be honest, I should have suspected something like this would happen today because my wife made me trim my beard last night. And I had no idea. But I’m awfully glad I did.

I don’t know what to say about this. This was totally a shock to me. I think the last 20, 30 seconds of that race I’ll never forget as long as I live. It’s been an unbelievable experience.

THE MODERATOR: Ignacio, would you talk a little more about this being a high point in your career and having just come back to training a few years ago and ending up in a Breeders’ Cup Winner’s Circle.

IGNACIO CORREAS: I don’t think it can get any better. As I said, a lot of credit goes to the filly, the mare, because I don’t know, good trainers with bad horses, you need horses like this to show what you can do, where they can take you because they take you on a great ride. And I think that Joe rode her great in — when she won her second Spinster, and today it was awesome. I don’t know, there’s no words. Thank you to that mare. She’s been so great to us.

THE MODERATOR: She clearly always loved Lexington, but coming out to California, what have you seen here and how did you feel coming into the race such a stellar field?

IGNACIO CORREAS: She loved Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Saratoga, and Santa Anita, she doesn’t have a problem anywhere, she’s as good as you can get.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. How did the owners become partners?
JOHN MOORES: I’m so old, I can’t remember when Charlie wasn’t my partner. We’ve done a hundred things together since actually the late ’80s, in the software business, real estate, oil and gas, a number of other things. Baseball.

But this was easily the most exciting one minute of my life. I promise. It’s unbelievable.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JOHN MOORES: I don’t know how it quite happened. I think Peter Bance, who has a long time — I guess back to high school — before, with Charlie, was sort of born to the business. So I think it just sort of evolved from that. It’s funny how things work out.

Q. Just to clarify, you would describe Peter as a partner or the racing manager, how —
PETER BANCE: I’m a friend and I help my friends do this and Charlie is an old friend from high school. Can you imagine, he used to try to look on my paper in Spanish class. So it’s very fitting that we have a Spanish-speaking horse and owner and breeder here. And so he didn’t really ride in high school, but he figured out how great it was when he started going to work in Baltimore and it has evolved.

And the greatest thing is this is a small stable. If you look at the numbers you have to compete against with some of the stables, to win this race with just a handful of flat horses is particularly hard to achieve. And the way this horse was bred, the way she was raised, the way she was trained, the coordination between the trainer in Argentina and Ignacio Correas and having her career be successful, it’s all fallen into place. And Charlie and John are great friends and great guys. It’s been fun.