Blue Prize winning the Falls City Handicap (gr. II) - Coady Photography

Blue Prize winning the Falls City Handicap (gG1) – Coady Photography

Three fillies and mares stand above the others in Saturday’s #250,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs.

#2 She’s a Julie, #3 Elate and #5 Blue Prize are all grade 1 winners who figure to put on a show in this 1 1/8-mile “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). In terms of Brisnet speed figures, they’re significantly faster than their three rivals #1 Skeptic, #4 Go Google Yourself and #6 Auspicious Babe, and this superiority is reflected in the Brisnet Prime Power rankings, where a 9.9-point gap separates the two groups.

She’s a Julie is the “now” filly. The youngest of the three favorites at 4, She’s a Julie has shown steady improvement throughout her career and fired off a big effort to win the La Troienne Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day. Despite being carried wide through the stretch by runner-up and grade 1 winner Secret Spice, She’s a Julie battled on gamely to win by a half-length.

Elate is a proven veteran trying to regain her best form. The easy winner of the Alabama Stakes (G1) and Beldame Invitational (G1) as a 3-year-old in 2017, Elate has dealt with splint-bone issues throughout her career and is winless in two 2019 starts. She ran well to finish second in the Azeri Stakes (G2), where she was beaten just a length by division leader Midnight Bisou, but Elate regressed in the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1), where she weakened to finish third by 2 3/4 lengths against Midnight Bisou. Elate can be brilliant on her best day, but will she bring her “A” game to the Fleur de Lis?

Blue Prize hasn’t been quite as flashy as She’s a Julie and Elate, but she counts three graded stakes victories at Churchill Downs on her record, including a 1 1/2-length score in the 2018 Fleur de Lis. A classy veteran with a 7-3-2-1 record at Churchill, Blue Prize was beaten just 1 1/2 lengths in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at the Louisville track. She was a little dull when she came in third behind She’s a Julie in the La Troienne last time out, but Blue Prize was making her first start of the year, and she has a history of coming up short in her seasonal debut. I’m expecting a sharper effort on Saturday, and in terms of Brisnet speed figures, her best form puts her ahead of She’s a Julie.

I’ll take a shot betting Blue Prize to win, and I’ll also key her in the top two spots of the trifecta:

$10 to win on #5 Blue Prize
$5 trifecta: 5 with 2,3 with 2,3 ($10)
$5 trifecta: 2,3 with 5 with 2,3 ($10)

Good luck!