July 24, 2024

Society brilliant in record-setting Chicago

Society blasted to a track record in the Chicago at Ellis Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

Society stretched out to 1 1/16 miles to win the Cotillion (G1) last fall, and three of her previous four starts had come at two-turn distances, but she showed a preference for dirt sprints recording a spectacular victory in Saturday’s $225,000 Chicago (G3) at Ellis Park.

After dictating opening splits in :22.21 and :44.41 on a short lead, Society drew off by 10 3/4 lengths, establishing a new track record when finishing seven furlongs in 1:20.54. Tyler Gaffalione was up on the Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds homebred daughter of Gun Runner, and the Steve Asmussen-trained four-year-old filly left the starting gate as the 2.19-1 second choice among six rivals.

“She was super impressive today,” Gaffalione said. “It’s a credit to Steve and his team for having her ready to run a huge race. It was pretty cool setting the track record with her today.”

Society eclipsed Privet Moon, who set the previous track mark (1:20.69) in 2021.

Multiple Grade 1 winner Matareya, the 0.59-1 favorite following a top-class win over Goodnight Olive and Wicked Halo in the Derby City Distaff (G1) on the May 6 Kentucky Derby undercard, stalked a few lengths back along the backstretch but came up empty when asked for run on the far turn, winding up an even third.

Asmussen now boasts three contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita, as Society figures to aim toward major divisional events along with Echo Zulu and Wicked Halo. Reigning champion Goodnight Olive still holds the pole position in a deep division, winning eight of her last nine starts, and Matareya remains eligible to rebound from the setback.

Drifaros prompted the early pace and held for second, 1 1/4 lengths better than Matareya. Be Like Water, Hidden Connection, and Stellar Noir completed the order.

Society notched her fourth stakes win, capturing the Charles Town Oaks (G3) last summer and the Monomoy Girl as a juvenile, and she’s earned $1,334,535 from a 10-6-0-1 record. The chestnut is the first stakes winner from the Tapit mare Etiquette, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner and 2010 Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Pleasant Prince.

Her pedigree’s geared toward longer distances, but Society will look to make a serious impact in the female sprint division following Saturday’s breakout performance.