Paulassilverlining takes Distaff

OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- Paulassilverlining rebounded from her disappointing runner-up finish as the 2-5 favorite in the Correction Stakes last month and spoiled the return of Cavorting by defeating that filly handily in Sunday's Grade 3, $200,000 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct.

Ridden aggressively by jockey Jose Ortiz, Paulassilverlining stalked the pacesetting longshot Madam Aamoura until the quarter pole, spurted to a clear lead in upper stretch, and won by 3 3/4 lengths despite drifting out in the stretch.

Cavorting, last year's Grade 1 Test winner making her first start since Dec. 26, raced between horses for the first half of the race, then rallied along the rail in the stretch under Irad Ortiz Jr. to get second by a length over Bar of Gold.

By the Moon finished fourth and was followed, in order, by My Savannah Belle, La Madrina, and Madam Aamoura.

The win was the fifth from 12 starts for Paulassilverlining, a 4-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper owned and bred by Vincent Scuderi. Paulassilverlining added the Distaff to previous stakes victories in the Grade 2 Matron at age 2 and the Ruthless at age 3.

In the March 19 Correction, Paulassilverlining was sent off the 2-5 favorite but was ridden tepidly by Ortiz and she finished second behind Clothes Fall Off.

Sunday, the plan was to put Paulassilverlining into the race early, especially breaking from the rail.

Ortiz did send Paulassilverlining away from the gate, but Eric Cancel was more intent on having the lead and sent 50-1 Madam Aamoura to the front, running a quarter-mile in 22.93 seconds to get there. Ortiz did a nice job of getting Paulassilverlining to the outside of Madam Aamoura and just inside of Bar of Gold down the backside.

By the quarter pole, Paulassilverlining took over from Madam Aamoura, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, and she was never challenged in the stretch, allowing her to drift out without incident.

"We had intentions of jumping out of there, but Rudy's filly wanted the lead," said Michelle Nevin, trainer of Paulassilverlining. "Jose did a great job. He said, 'You go, we'll sit here' and it worked out perfectly."

Paulassilverlining covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.01 and returned $6.40 to win as the second choice.

The win was one of two on the card for Ortiz, who now has a meet-leading 35 wins from 98 mounts. There is one week remaining in the Aqueduct spring meet.

"From the quarter pole to the three-sixteenths pole she put her head down and exploded," Ortiz said. "Later, by the sixteenth pole, she ducked out a little bit, but I think it was partially due to me wanting to go a little faster than she could."

Nevin said Paulassilverlining could be a candidate for the Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap going 6-1/2 furlongs at Belmont on May 14.

By the Moon, also trained by Nevin, finished fourth in her first start since running third in the Grade 1 Test last August. Nevin was happy to get a race into her and looks forward to getting by the Moon to Belmont, where as a 2-year-old she won the Grade 1 Frizette. A race like the Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian at a mile might be a consideration for By the Moon.

"She got a race under her belt. Hopefully she can move forward off this," Nevin said.