Flavien Prat, the Californian-based jockey, will be aboard Blue Chipper, the Grade 1 winner from Korea, for the highly anticipated Breeders’ Cup Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile event, confirmed by agent Derek Lawson.
The Kentucky-bred 4-year-old son of Tiznow is going to be the very first horse from Korea to start in the world racing championships for thoroughbreds.
According to Derek Lawson, Flavien Prat was recently recommended by a fellow jockey from France, who is currently based in Hong Kong, who heard that his connections were searching for a possible rider.
“A French jockey who Flavien knows called him and told him this horse’s connections weren’t bringing his rider and that they wanted a local, Californian-based jockey and would we be interested,” Lawson stated. “We are basically open (for a mount in the Dirt Mile) so I did my research on the horse and saw how good he was, watched his races so I said yes.”
This recent mount, although considered out of the ordinary by most, perfectly displays the already whirlwind year for both Lawson and Prat.
Apart from winning the Queen’s Plate and the Kentucky Derby, the jockey was aboard two additional winners that participated in $1 million races in 2019 so far. This included the Bowies Hero in the Shadwell Turf Mile and Higher Power in the Pacific Classic, and is now on his way to become the most successful rider in victories and purses for a Californian jockey this year.
Lawson recently stated that Blue Chipper will arrive at Santa Anita and should be on the grounds shortly after the quarantine barn is ready from the USDA, which has been set for 24 October.
Lawson isn’t 100% sure whether Prat will get the opportunity to get to know Blue Chipper prior to the race, but hopes that Prat will be aboard Blue Chipper at least once after the quarantine has been cleared up.
Blue Chipper was acquired by his connections after he was unable to meet his $95,000 reserve when he was a Keeneland September yearling during 2016.
After he was exported, Blue Chipper managed to win two of his first 3 starts as a 2-year-old in 2017 at the South Korean Busan-Gyeongnam Horse Park.
However, he didn’t make any starts as a 3-year-old in 2018.
During 2019, however, Blue Chipper managed to win all 4 of his races, which included the Keeneland Korea Sprint on 8 September which took place at the Seoul Racecourse.
Blue Chipper, bred by Diamond A Farm, is trained by Kim Kwan, owned by Choi Byeong-Bu, and has managed to earn a total of $930,251.