Racing for the first time since a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap in September, Fog City Stable's Blueprint rallied from off the pace to win Sunday's $250,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita. Under Gary Stevens, the 6-year-old Irish-bred held off a determined late run from Devon Deputy to ensure the victory, completing the 1 ½ miles in 2:28.57 on a good turf course.
"I had a great stalking trip but I did have a little difficulty getting him to change leads," said Stevens. "It was the perfect trip and he came home very, very strong. When Alex (Solis, aboard Devon Deputy) came on the outside of me, it gave my horse the extra little 'oomph' to get him across the line first."
Blueprint finished a head in front of Devon Deputy, who was 1 ¼ lengths clear of third-place Kerrygold. 7-10 favorite Ciro came home fourth, followed by Coyote Lakes, Jack Grandi, Company Approval, and Here Comes Big C.
"My horse was intimidated by the gray horse (Company Approval)," said Ciro's jockey, Corey Nakatani. "I outbroke him and Laffit (Pincay) sent, cleared me then took back, I got shuffled back where I didn't want to be."
Blueprint (Generous -- Highbrow, by Shirley Heights) earned $150,000 for the win, his eighth in 22 career starts. He made his North American racing debut in July, finishing sixth in Early Pioneer's Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I). Switched back to turf for his next start, he then finished fifth in the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT), prior to the Kentucky Cup.
Prior to his North American racing, he raced primarily in England, where he won the Sagitta Jockey Club Stakes (Eng-II). Blueprint was bred by the Queen of England.
"After I all but ruined him last summer, it definitely was a relief," said trainer Bob Hess Jr., who also conditions Fog City Stables' Swale Stakes (gr. III) winner D'Wildcat. "We brought him over, we were probably a little too ambitious in running in that dirt race (Hollywood Gold Cup). From there, I just rushed him into his next two races and I should have stopped then."
Blueprint returned a generous $15.20, $6.80, and $6.60. Devon Deputy paid $6.20 and $4.60. Kerrygold was worth $4 to show. The $1 exacta was worth $39.70.
"You could pencil in very faintly the San Juan Capistrano (April 14) for Blueprint's next race," said Hess. (Chart, Equibase