Updated on 05/04/2013 2:23PM

Humana Distaff: Aubby K gives trainer first Grade 1 win

Michael Amoruso
Aubby K and Edgar Prado overcome the sloppy footing at Churchill Downs on Saturday to win the Humana Distaff.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Aubby K gave Ralph Nicks the first Grade 1 victory of his training career when she splashed to a 1 1/2-length victory over Burban in Saturday’s $345,600 Humana Distaff under rainy skies at Churchill Downs.

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With Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado aboard, Aubby K stalked the pace of Jamaican Smoke, who set reasonable splits of 22.40 seconds and 45.31 for the opening half-mile of the seven-furlong Humana Distaff, which was decided over a racetrack downgraded from fast to sloppy about an hour earlier. Aubby K engaged the leader at the quarter pole, gained a short advantage approaching the furlong marker, then turned back a strong challenge from Burban to win going away.

Burban raced well placed while kept a bit wide by jockey Jose Lezcano, ranged up outside the winner nearing midstretch, but proved no match. Holiday Soiree moved within easy striking distance rallying five wide into the stretch but lacked the necessary closing surge over the soggy going, finishing a neck further back in third.

Completing the order of finish were the tiring Jamaican Smoke, Rumor, Byrama, Emma’s Encore, the slow-starting There Is No Limit, and Same Cross.

Aubby K is a homebred daughter of Street Sense owned and bred by James Spence. She completed the distance in 1:22.93 and paid $9.20 as the tepid favorite in the field of nine older fillies and mares.

“I was a little worried about the wet track because her brother Flying Pegasus wouldn’t run a step over it,” a rain-soaked but jubilant Nicks said in the winner’s circle. “But she’s just such a good horse she just keeps on overcoming everything. She’s a stalker and has a turn of foot. She can press if she needs to or set off, so it works out well for us.”

Nicks, who spent 14 years as top assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott before going out on his own in 2004, has spaced Aubby K’s races throughout her career. Nicks said he will ship Aubby K to New York early next week where she’ll be given some time off before her next start.

“She ran back here in seven weeks so now let’s give her a chance,” said Nicks. “She’ll get a break with the Ballerina at Saratoga likely to be next.”