Updated on 09/16/2011 8:40AM

Softly springs $49 upset in Distaff

Softly (left) rolls by Bare Necessities to win the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Distaff on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Carl Nafzger, whose high-profile stable is having a terrific fall, won another major race Saturday when Softly rallied for a 23-1 upset in the $223,600, Grade 2 .

Softly, ridden by Jon Court, capitalized on a swift pace in the one-mile Distaff, coming from eighth in a field of nine fillies and mares. The outcome was in doubt until the final yards, when Softly surged ahead to win by a neck over Bare Necessities, a California invader who got a great trip under Jose Valdivia Jr.

Softly returned $49.60 to win for her sixth victory from 13 lifetime starts for breeder-owner Jim Tafel.

"We've got some pretty good horses right now," said Nafzger, referring to Westerly Breeze, My Boston Gal, What a Bad Day, Binthebest, and others.

Victory Ride, always in striking position, finished third, another 2 1/2 lengths back. Trip, the 9-5 favorite, and Habibti, the 5-2 second choice, finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

Before a crowd of 8,783, Flaxen Flyer led through fractions of 22.42 and 44.56 seconds before the rest began closing in. Bare Necessities, a 6-1 shot for Wally Dollase, got through a rail opening to take command at the furlong grounds, but then Softly angled out after splitting horses and was up to win in 1:35.07 over a fast track.

Victory Ride, winner of the Grade 1 Test last year, probably was running for the last time, said trainer Rusty Arnold.

The 8-2 exacta paid $262.80 and the 8-2-5 trifecta paid $1,768.

In earlier races Saturday:

* Najran ($2.40) narrowly held off Pass Rush to win a $51,240 allowance for 3-year-olds and upward, leading to a minus show pool of $32,840. Trainer Nick Zito said Najran probably will run next in the $400,000 Clark Handicap on Nov. 29.

* White Cat ($4.20) caught Skamper ($9.40) on the wire to finish in a dead heat for win in a $43,400, one-mile allowance for 2-year-olds.

* I'm Howlin ($35.80), a 5-year-old who was 1 for 57 coming in, gave jockey Shane Sellers his third win of the card in the sixth race, a $20,000 conditioned claimer. Despite just two career wins, I'm Howlin has earned more than $100,000.