04/08/2017 5:51PM

Paulassilverlining captures Madison Stakes in first start for Brown

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Paulassilverling, under Jose Ortiz, prevails by a neck over Constellation in the Madison.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - New year, new barn, new track, no problem for Paulassilverlining, who earned the first Grade 1 victory of her already accomplished career Saturday, outslugging a game Constellation to win the $300,000 Madison Stakes by a neck at Keeneland.

Paulassilverlining served notice that she is again ready to be a player in the female sprint division, in which she was an Eclipse Award finalist last year after winning three graded stakes and finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. In mid-March, Juddmonte Farms privately purchased the mare from breeder Vincent Scuderi, with an eye toward one day breeding her to its champion Arrogate. For now, however, both horses are in the midst of solid campaigns. Following the purchase, Paulassilverlining moved to trainer Chad Brown - who credited former trainer Michelle Nevin with giving the mare the foundation that made the difference Saturday. 

"Michelle Nevin had this horse her whole career, and deserves a lot of the credit," Brown said. "Not only for getting her ready all winter - she did most of the work [for this race], I've only had her a month - but for taking good care of her throughout her career. You can't really have a 5-year-old racehorse have a good season unless you've taken care of them their whole career and they're sound. She deserves a lot of credit."

Sent away as the favorite, Paulassilverlining ($5.60) and regular rider Jose Ortiz settled in fourth and out in the No. 3 path to stalk the pace in the early going. That pace was set by Constellation - winner of two of three, including the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes, since transferring to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in California - who took the field through opening fractions of 23.03 and 46.40 seconds.

Ortiz cut his mount between horses to save some ground on the turn, and ranged up to the inside of Constellation, who came off the rail turning for home. Constellation stubbornly fought back, the top two edging clear of the field as they drifted out in the lane. Paulassilverlining prevailed at the wire, stopping the clock in 1:23.68 on a track rated fast.

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“[The trip] was great,” Ortiz said. “When I cut the corner at the quarter pole, she kicked on.”

It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to Paid Up Subscriber - also making her first start for Brown after she was a $1.1-million auction purchase last November - in third.

Brown said the likely next target for Paulassilverlining is the Grade 1 Humana Distaff Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard, May 6 at Churchill Downs.