01/05/2017 1:46PM

2016 Eclipse Awards: Paulassilverlining

Barbara D. Livingston
The Gallant Bloom is one of four stakes Paulassilverlining won in 2016.

Although a Grade 1 victory may have eluded Paulassilverlining in 2016, she sure racked up a lot of style points with the combination of class, speed, and consistency she displayed throughout a terrific campaign.

Owned by her breeder, New York businessman Vincent Scuderi, and trained by Michelle Nevin, Paulassilverlining won five of nine starts, accounting for four stakes, three of them graded. Even in defeat, the 4-year-old filly turned in highly creditable efforts when finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Ballerina and third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

The year began with a 9 1/4-length romp in a February allowance over the Aqueduct inner track, earning her an eye-catching 107 Beyer Speed Figure. She then finished second as an odds-on favorite in the Correction in March before knocking out back-to-back Grade 3 stakes, the Distaff at Aqueduct in April and the Vagrancy at Belmont Park in May. Jose Ortiz, who rode Paulassilverlining in all but two of her starts in 2016, was aboard for all of those races.

:: Eclipse Awards: 2016 finalists with profiles

Paulassilverling then resurfaced at Saratoga as the 7-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss. Flaunting her versatility by racing near the back of the pack in the early going, Paulassilverlining then roared to the lead in midstretch, only to be nailed in the last few jumps by Haveyougoneaway.

The Ballerina proved similarly frustrating. Always prominent in the seven-furlong race, Paulassilverlining faded in late stretch when defeated just 2 1/2 lengths by Haveyougoneaway.

Prepping for the Breeders’ Cup, Paulassilverlining then came through for her many Belmont backers when prevailing as the 9-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom on Oct. 1.

“I always expect her to run well because she always does,” an elated Nevin told Daily Racing Form afterward.

Next up was the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. Overlooked at 15-1 in the field of 13, Paulassilverlining was a major factor from the opening bell under Joe Talamo, forcing all the pace before holding sway for third, two lengths behind the victorious Finest City.

“She gave me a big effort the whole way,” Talamo said. “She really is a classy filly.”

As Paulassilverlining continued to thrive at her Belmont base in the Breeders’ Cup aftermath, Nevin chose to run her once more in the ungraded Garland of Roses over the Aqueduct inner track Dec. 10. The filly was pounded down to 15 cents on the dollar and responded accordingly, winning by 2 1/4 lengths and pushing her career bankroll into seven figures.

“I’m very proud of her,” said Nevin, a former longtime assistant to Rick Dutrow. “How could you not be? She’s just been a star from the get-go.”

Paulassilverlining, a bay Kentucky-bred, was sired by Ghostzapper and produced by Seeking the Silver, by Grindstone. In 2016, she competed exclusively in dirt races from six to seven furlongs and ended the season with five wins and two seconds from nine starts and earnings of $680,000. For her career, which began in summer 2014, she is 8 for 18 with earnings of $1,008,950.

If all goes to plan in 2017, Paulassilverlining could get another shot at Finest City when the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint is renewed Nov. 4 at Del Mar. Both are scheduled to remain in training as 5-year-olds, with Paulassilverlining currently being pointed to the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie on Feb. 18 at Laurel Park, where she’s likely to be a huge favorite in that seven-furlong fixture when making her seasonal debut.