Sparkle Blue Sizzles in Big Dreyfus Victory

July 15, 2023

Sparkle Blue lives up to her name in the Big Dreyfus (Maryland Jockey Club)

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

LAUREL, Md.— Catherine Parke and Augustin Stable’s Grade 3 winner Sparkle Blue, given a patient ride from jockey Jorge Ruiz, found room at the top of the stretch to split horses and go on to a popular 2 ¼-length victory in the $100,000 Big Dreyfus.

It was the first win in three starts this year for 6-5 favorite Sparkle Blue ($4.40), who covered 1 1/8 miles over an Exceller turf course rated good in 1:49.29 for her fifth career win and third in a stakes following the Valley View (G3) at Keeneland and Delaware Park’s Christiana last year.

Sparkle Blue launched her 4-year-old campaign running sixth in the 1 1/8-mile Modesty (G3) May 5 at Churchill Downs, where she returned to be third in the 1 ½-mile Keertana May 27 in her most recent start.

“I think she really liked the course here today,” trainer Graham Motion said. “It had a little give in it. It was very firm at Churchill both times she ran.”

It was 40-1 long shot Lady Puchi that took the field through splits of 24.88 seconds, 50.30 and 1:13.96 tracked by Community Adjusted and multiple stakes winner Coconut Cake, wheeling back two weeks after her victory in Laurel’s Jameela. Ruiz settled Sparkle Blue between horses in fourth and remained behind horses leaving the far turn before finding space and giving the filly her cue, opening up once straightened for home.

Two-time graded-stakes placed Atomic Blonde trailed the field for six furlongs but was able to weave through traffic in the stretch to get up for second, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Community Adjusted. They were followed by Candy Light, Lady Puchi, Coconut Cake and Deciding Vote. Cupid’s Strike was scratched.

“I was a little nervous because Jorge took a little bit of a hold of her going into the first turn, but he does such a good job. He got her relaxed and she switched off nicely and won pretty easily,” Motion said. “She’s improved so much. I give her exercise rider, Kevin Lundie, a lot of credit. She’s been a little bit tricky in the morning, but he’s figured her out and it shows in the afternoon.”

Sparkle Blue was racing for the second time at Laurel, having run fourth behind subsequent multiple graded-stakes winner Consumer Spending in the 2021 Selima, her second start and first on the turf.

“I honestly hadn’t looked beyond today. I kind of had a circle around this race for a while,” Motion said. “It seemed like a good spot, and we’ll look for something similar. I think this is a really good distance for her.”

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