Juddmonte Farms’ Paulassilverlining held off champion Finest City by a neck to take Saturday’s $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Jockey Jose Ortiz was aboard the Chad Brown trainee, who found herself in the five path tracking early leader Super Humor through the first quarter in :23.02. Paulassilverlining ranged up to take over while still running wide, posting a half-mile in :46.55, and held a nice advantage in the lane before Finest City suddenly emerged from between rivals.
The 3-2 favorite put in a game bid but just ran out of room as Paulassilverlining kept her neck in front on the wire to stop the clock in 1:23.68 for seven furlongs on the sloppy, sealed main track.
Paulassilverlining paid $7.60 for the win as the 5-2 third choice in the seven-distaffer field. Finest City had three parts of a length to spare on third-placer Carina Mia, who was followed under the wire by Sweetgrass. Lightstream, Mines and Magic, and Super Humor completed the order of finish.
Paulassilverlining earned her eighth stakes score in this spot and second Grade 1 victory after taking the April 8 Madison Stakes (G1) by a neck at Keeneland just one race prior. The bay mare has now captured her past three starts, including the Garland of Roses Stakes on December 10 while making her final start for trainer Michelle Nevin, for whom she began her career.
The Kentucky-bred miss took two tries to break her maiden after finishing fourth in her 2014 debut at Saratoga, and has finished worse than third only three times in her 20-race career. Along the way she racked up wins in the 2016 Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) and Distaff Handicap (G3) as well as the 2014 Matron Stakes (G2), and also finished third behind Finest City in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
Switched to Brown’s shedrow to kick off 2017, Paulassilverlining improved her career record to read 20-10-4-3, $1,371,230, with her score in the Humana Distaff.
Bred by Vince Scuderi, Paulassilverlining is out of the winning Grindstone mare Seeking the Silver. She is a half-sister to Dads Caps, who scored back-to-back wins in the Carter Handicap (G1) in 2014-15.
HUMANA DISTAFF QUOTES
Jose Ortiz, jockey Paulassilverlining, winner
“No special instructions from (trainer) Chad (Brown). He said, ‘You know this filly; ride her like you know how.’ She was extra game today but she’s like that every time. She always shows up and gives her best. She showed up today.”
Chad Brown, trainer Paulassilverlining, winner
“She had no trouble with the track and (jockey) Jose (Ortiz) gave her a great ride. He got her off the rail early, put her in a stalking position and got the jump on everybody.”
Mike Smith, jockey Finest City, second
“Great trip. She kind of slipped more than I’d hoped she would. We all have to run in it and some of them handle it better than others but that might have made a little bit of difference today. Every time I’d take two or three steps forward all of a sudden I was taking one back. She’d hit a little spot and then it’d be like starting all over again.”
Ian Kruljac, trainer Finest City, second
“She tried hard. She ran her race.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey Carina Mia, third
“She ran well. It was her first race back since Breeders’ Cup and those two fillies in front of her already had races this year. She ran a big race, we had a good trip and we were happy with it.”