BALTIMORE – Head of Plains Partners’ homebred Fluffy Socks, stepping up off her maiden win last month, scooted through an opening along the rail and surged past favored leader Invincible Gal to win the $150,000 Selima Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.
The 91st running of the 1 1/16-mile Selima for 2-year-old fillies on the grass kicked off an all-stakes Preakness Day program of 12 races featuring the $1 million Preakness (G1) and $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2).
This was only the fourth time the Selima was run at Pimlico and first since Hear Us Roar’s victory in 2004. Other editions on Old Hilltop came in 1943 and 1979.
Trevor McCarthy, Maryland’s four-time champion jockey, was unhurried on Fluffy Socks near the back of the pack as maiden Domain Expertise and 8-5 top choice Invincible Gal duked it out up front through fractions of 25.57 seconds, 51.36 and 1:17.17. While waiting for room at the top of the stretch, McCarthy found a seam and sailed through to win by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:50.74 over the yielding course.
Invincible Gal, unlucky runner-up in the one-mile Sorority, finished second with 21-1 long shot Tic Tic Tic Boom getting up for third. Invincible Gal is trained by Graham Motion, who captured last year’s Selima with subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner Sharing.
It was the second Selima win for McCarthy following Ruby Notion in 2015. Fluffy Socks, by British-bred Slumber, debuted running fifth Aug. 9 at Saratoga prior to her maiden score going a mile Sept. 7 at Kentucky Downs.
First run in 1926, the Selima is named for the great English race mare who was imported to the U.S. in the 1750s by Benjamin Tasker Jr., manager of the famed Belair Farm in Prince George’s County. The daughter of the Godolphin Arabian, considered ‘Queen of the Turf,’ also gained fame as a broodmare.
$150,000 Selima Quotes
Trevor McCarthy, Winning Jockey (Fluffy Socks) – “[Trainer] Chad [Brown] just gave me instructions to get a good break with her and just get her to relax the best I could and see where she wants to be comfortable-wise. We just kind of took it from the break. Walking the course this morning, it seemed the inside was the freshest part that we haven’t run on. I saved all the ground I could. When it came to the top of the stretch, I kind of made my way up and, actually, I was trying to angle my way outside and then the rail opened up and I said, ‘This is perfect.’ It was great to stay on the fresh ground most of the way.”
Graham Motion, Trainer (Invincible Gal, 2nd) – “The turf is very soft. It was a real stamina test. It didn’t set up how we had hoped, but she ran well.”