LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, May 6, 2023) – Head of Plains Partners’ homebred Fluffy Socks split horses at the three-sixteenths pole to grab the lead and go on to a length victory over favored Spendarella in the 38th running of the $500,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII) for fillies and mares.
Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Fluffy Socks covered the mile on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:35.53.
It is the fourth victory in the race for Brown, who won last year with Speak of the Devil (FR), in 2021 with Blowout and in 2017 with Roca Rojo (IRE). Ortiz won the race in 2020 on Beau Recall (IRE).
Haughty set the pace in the field of six with fractions of :23.62 and :47.84 with Spendarella stalking in second and Fluffy Socks racing fifth.
At the head of the stretch Spendarella took over only to have Fluffy Socks shoot between her and a fading Haughty to strike the front and maintain her advantage to the wire.
The victory was worth $306,900 and increased Fluffy Socks’ earnings to $994,580 with a record of 18-5-7-2. Fluffy Socks is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Slumber (GB) out of the Kitten’s Joy mare Breakfast Time.
Fluffy Socks returned $11.96, $3.92 and $2.64. Spendarella, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $2.72 and $2.28 and finished a length in front of Speak of the Devil, who paid $3.10 to show under Flavien Prat.
Wakanaka (IRE) finished another nose back in fourth and was followed in order by Sharp Hero and Haughty.
LONGINES DISTAFF TURF MILE QUOTES
Irad Ortiz Jr., jockey, Fluffy Socks, winner: “We really liked our (post) position. That was a key to it. She broke sharp and I was able to get her right in the race."
Chad Brown, trainer, Fluffy Socks, winner: “It was a very big effort. I’m very proud of her. Flavien (Prat) did a really good job of getting her into position. There were some really good fillies in there.”
Tyler Gaffalione, jockey, Spendarella, runner-up: “I came to the (top) of the stretch very comfortably. I thought I had a lot of horse but she just didn’t quicken today. She might have just needed the tightening but she pulled up good.”
Flavien Prat, jockey, Speak of the Devil, third: “I was traveling really well all the way around and she made a good move and thought I was going to be a winner turning for home. I just couldn’t go by those horses but she ran well.”