Juddmonte's Aviate Wins Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

May 14, 2011 John Asher

Juddmonte Farms’ Aviate (GB), making her second start in the United States, came from well of the pace to win the 26th running of the $227,800 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial Lines (GII) by 1 1/2 lengths over Aruna on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux and trained by Bill Mott, the all-time win leader among trainers at Churchill Downs, Aviate began her career with three consecutive wins  in England at age 2.  The arrived in the U.S. this winter and debuted with a third-place finish in the Honey Fox (GIII) at Gulfstream Park in March.

Kiss Mine led the field of nine through fractions of :23.75 and :47.81 as Aviate raced in the third flight near the back of the pack. Kiss Mine held the lead entering the stretch but it was short-lived as the pack closed in with Desormeaux bringing Aviate six wide in the lane.

Aruna, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, took over at mid stretch only to have Aviate sail past inside the sixteenth pole.

Aviate, a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Dansili (GB) out of the Irish River (FR) mare Emplane covered the mile on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:36.67.

The victory was worth $135,589 and increased Aviate’s earnings to $229,409.  Her career record improved to 4-0-1 in nine races.

Aviate returned mutuels of $13.20, $6.40 and $5. Aruna paid her backers $6.20 and $4.40 with Fantasia (GB) rallying for third a neck back under Joel Rosario and paying $4.60 to show.

Zapparition finished 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Kiss Mine, Never Retreat, Tapitsfly, Wild Mia and Upperline.


KENT DESORMEAUX (Jockey, Aviate, winner) – “She had a good clean trip; she was always on the bridle, very aggressive, in fact. I think her frame helped her tremendously with winning the race. She has a light frame, so she was able to skip over the top, whereas the bigger, heavier horses had to sink a lot deeper. It is still soft, so she enjoyed the soft going. I don’t think she wants to get there as quick as I did in the last race, and I may have gotten there too soon today.”

BILL MOTT (Trainer, Aviate, winner) — “It was a different surface today; it was a fast, speed-favoring surface down there (in her most recent start at Gulfstream Park). It was a good pace and just enough cut in the ground where the closers had a chance today. It took her a race to get on track but it looked like a good effort on her part. I don’t think she likes real soft ground but ground like this didn’t seem to be a factor. Right now we’ll probably look at the one-mile stake on Belmont Day (Grade I, $400,000 Just a Game).”

RAMON DOMINGUEZ (Jockey, Aruna, second) – “I don't think it (the delay at the start) affected anyone as all the horses stayed calm. You never know they handle it once they reload, but my filly handled it pretty well. She ran very strong and I thought she was in great position to win but the winner was just too good.'

GRAHAM MOTION (Trainer, Aruna, second) – “It looked like she got a good trip. It looked like she was a little too sharp early. I had hoped she’d settle a little better than that, but the first race back it’s always a bit of a concern. She ran super, it was her first start against older fillies. It was a pretty good effort.”

JOEL ROSARIO (jockey, Fantasia, third) – “I thought my filly ran pretty well but when we were on the final turn, I thought that might be a problem. I was pretty happy with her effort though.”

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