When Juddmonte Farms purchased Paulassilverlining privately earlier this year, manager Garrett O'Rourke cited the bay mare's outward toughness as one of her biggest selling points.
Testy as she can be around the barn, the daughter of Ghostzapper used the final strides of the $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) to show how downright unpleasant she is to those who try and stymie her usual place at the finish line.
A brave front-end effort from Finley'sluckycharm ended up for naught over the Saratoga Race Course main track July 26, as multiple grade 1 winner Paulassilverlining just got up at the wire to capture the six-furlong Honorable Miss by a neck and earn her fourth consecutive victory dating back to December.
Previously trained by Michelle Nevin, Paulassilverlining was purchased with designs on getting her some top-level victories before eventually becoming a breeding-shed date for Juddmonte champion Arrogate . She has more than held up her end of the bargain, as she is now unbeaten since joining the barn of Eclipse Award winning trainer Chad Brown, including victories in the Madison Stakes (G1) April 8 at Keeneland and Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs, both at seven furlongs.
The six-furlong distance of the Honorable Miss was one Brown worried might be a little short for his charge. After rating third down the backstretch while Finley'sluckycharm had Disco Chick battling her on the rail through an opening quarter in :22.69, Paulassilverlining came with her surge on the far turn as the half-mile went in :45.46 and then called on her class when the pacesetter refused to yield her advantage until late.
"(Jockey) Jose (Ortiz) knows her so well. I really didn't give him any instructions," Brown said. "He timed it just right. She has a lot of heart. (Since) arriving in our barn, she's done nothing wrong. She's been a real pleasant addition to our stable—so competitive, a lot of heart, a lot of talent.
"Six (furlongs) is just a little short for her. She showed that with barely getting up there at the wire but good horses overcome things like this, taking them out of their element just a touch. She's done that today."
Wednesday's victory avenged a runner-up placing Paulassilverlining had in the Honorable Miss a year ago, when she was the beaten favorite behind Haveyougoneaway. There haven't been many missteps for the 5-year-old mare in her 21-race career, as she has only had three placings worse than third to go along with her 11 victories and $1,491,230 in earnings.
Finley'sluckycharm was a half-length in front of third-place finisher By the Moon, with Clothes Fall Off and Disco Chick completing the order of finish. The final time for the distance was 1:10.10 over a track rated good with the winner paying out $5.30, $2.60, and $2.10 across the board.
Paulassilverlining was bred in Kentucky by Vince Scuderi and is out of the Grindstone mare Seeking the Silver.
"This was a prep for the (grade 1) Ballerina (Aug 26)," Brown said. "We gave her a freshening after the Humana at Churchill, planning to race her in the Honorable Miss. Leading to the Ballerina, that's our plan."