James Spence’s homebred Aubby K disposed of pacesetting Jamaican Smoke in the upper stretch en route to a 1 1/2-length victory in the 27th running of the $345,600 Humana Distaff (Grade I), the first of three Grade I races on the Kentucky Derby Day program at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Ralph Nicks and ridden by Edgar Prado, Aubby K covered the seven furlongs on a main track labeled as sloppy in 1:22.93.
The victory was worth $205,701 and improved Aubby K’s earnings to $419,164 with a record of 8-4-0-1. It was the second graded-stakes victory of 2013 for Aubby K, who won the Inside Information (GII) in her first start of the year at Gulfstream Park.
Aubby K is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense out of the Capote mare Lilly Capote.
Jamaican Smoke led the field through fractions of :22.40 and :45.31 with Aubby K in closest pursuit. After moving by Jamaican Smoke, Aubby K repulsed a bid from Burban before kicking clear for the victory.
Sent off as the favorite in a field of nine, Aubby K returned $9.20, $5.40 and $4. Burban, ridden by Jose Lezcano, returned $8.60 and $6.20 and finished a beck in front of Holiday Soiree, who paid $8 to show under Javier Castellano.
Jamaican Smoke finished three-quarters of a length back in fourth and was followed in order by Rumor, Byrama (GB), Emma’s Encore, There Is No Limit and Same Cross.
HUMANA DISTAFF QUOTES
Edgar Prado, rider of Aubby K, winner: “That filly’s got a great running style. She’s great out of the gate; you put her in contention and she does her thing. She’s a pretty easy horse to ride. I guess she handled the track really well.
(Running on wet track) “It was kind of hard to know because she never ran on that kind of track. She handled it really well. She was running hard. When she got to the lead and starting looking around a bit, but she was really good today.”
Ralph Nicks, trainer of Aubby K, winner: “She’s such a good horse she just keep overcoming everything. She’s such a stalker and has the turn of foot, she can press if she needs to or set off. It works well for her.”
Jose Lezcano, rider of Burban, second: “She broke well for me and gave me a good trip. She handled the track OK, but she just got a little tired at the end.”
Javier Castellano, rider of Holiday Soiree, third: “I had a good trip and my filly tried hard all the way. She ran well. The track didn’t seem to bother her and she finished well. We just missed the place.”
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