Updated on 09/16/2011 6:51AM

Blue Moon gets up in Buena Vista


ARCADIA, Calif. - Regardless of whether she was responding to the urging screams of jockey Brice Blanc or newfound running room before her, Blue Moon rallied to win her fist graded stakes in Monday's $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap* at Santa Anita.

Stuck behind a wall of frontrunners turning for home, Blue Moon found space near the eighth pole and caught the frontrunning Queen of Wilshire in the final furlong to win the one-mile turf race for fillies and mares by a neck.

"When I saw the opening, I went for it," Blanc said. "I screamed and she took off and exploded. It's easier to do that with these European horses that have the response."

Blue Moon ($10.60) was timed in 1:35.54. Queen of Wilshire finished a length in front of Old Money, the 2-1 favorite, who was followed by Minor Details, Elegant Ridge, Veil of Avalon and Canzone. Old Money, who stalked Queen of Wilshire on the backstretch, drew within striking range in early stretch but could not sustain the rally.

The Grade 2 Buena Vista was Blue Moon's first start since she finished sixth in the Las Palmas Handicap over this course last November. According to trainer Ron Ellis, she emerged from that race with a bruised foot.

"She runs best when she's fresh," Ellis said. "We wanted to point her for races that meant something."

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, the 5-year-old Blue Moon has won 4 of 10 starts and $277,739. She was a stakes winner in France before she was acquired by Hughes. In 2000, she finished second for him in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.

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