01/05/2018 1:20PM

2017 Eclipse Awards: Paulassilverlining


If Eclipse Award voters focused solely on the spring and summer campaigns of candidates for the top filly-and-mare sprinter of 2017, there is no doubt who would be most deserving of the award.

In three starts from April to July, Paulassilverlining reeled off victories in major divisional stakes, stamping herself as the one to overtake as the year unfolded. It was a terrific start to her campaign under new silks, with the worldwide powerhouse Juddmonte Farms having negotiated a private purchase of Paulassilverlining in March from her breeder and original owner, Vince Scuderi.

From 18 starts for Scuderi and trainer Michelle Nevin, Paulassilverlining already had amassed eight wins, including four in graded stakes, and earnings of more than $1 million.

Turned over to Chad Brown following the sale, Paulassilverlining won at first asking, capturing the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland by a neck. Four weeks later, before the huge Kentucky Derby crowd at Churchill Downs, she was best in a three-horse duel taking the Grade 1 Humana Distaff by a neck.

“She was extra game today, but she’s like that every time,” Jose Ortiz, who rode Paulassilverlining in all five of her 2017 starts, said after the Humana Distaff. “She always shows up and gives her best.”

Unraced until late July, Paulassilverlining then won the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga, yet again by a neck in a three-horse scramble.

“She has a lot of heart, this horse,” Brown said after the Honorable Miss. “Since arriving in our barn, she’s done nothing wrong. So competitive, a lot of heart, a lot of talent.”

In those first three races, Paulassilverlining defeated a handful of fillies and mares who distinguished themselves over the last two seasons, including Finley’sluckycharm, By the Moon, Finest City, Carina Mia, Constellation, and Paid Up Subscriber. Two more races were on the agenda for Paulassilverlining, and big efforts surely would have clinched the Eclipse.

She was unable, however, to sustain that momentum. Paulassilverlining was fifth as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 1 Ballerina on the Aug. 26 Travers card at Saratoga, and then was never a serious threat when finishing sixth as the 13-1 fourth choice in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Nov. 4 at Del Mar.

Paulassilverlining, a Kentucky-bred by Ghostzapper and out of Seeking the Silver, by Grindstone, ended the year with three wins and earnings of $507,280. For her 23-race career, she had 11 wins and a bankroll of $1,516,230.

Juddmonte, owned by Prince Khalid bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, announced when Paulassilverlining was bought in March that she would be bred in 2018 to Arrogate, and a farm spokesperson confirmed those plans in late December.