Fluffy Socks gave trainer Chad Brown a record-extending fifth career victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Sands Point at Belmont Park. The talented bay defeated her 3-year-old filly counterparts with a strong stretch-drive surge, confronting stablemate Higher Truth inside the sixteenth pole to secure her second career graded stakes victory.
Owned and bred by Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners, the sophomore daughter of blue collar stallion Slumber entered the nine-furlong inner turf test off a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on August 21. She secured her previous graded stakes triumph at the California oval when completing her juvenile season with a victory in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante.
“Fluffy Socks is a barn and fan favorite with her name,” Brown said. “She’s a homebred of Slumber from very modest beginnings, but she’s really a great racehorse and a beautiful filly that just keeps getting better. I’m real happy for Sol Kumin and all his partners and a shout out to his son, Sam, who named the horse.”
Fluffy Socks, emerging from post 6 under Joel Rosario, took towards the rear of the tightly-bunched group as graded stakes-placed Higher Truth, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, led the field into the first turn. Rosario kept Fluffy Socks in the three-path to the outside of Harajuku and Third Draft as Higher Truth led an easy opening quarter-mile in 25.34 seconds over the firm footing with Our Flash Drive keeping close company in second.
Midway down the backstretch, Fluffy Socks inched her way to fourth position with Runaway Rumour moving into contention to her outside while Higher Truth remained in control through a half in 50.15. Fluffy Socks dropped back to fifth in between horses as the field entered the far turn through three-quarters in 1:14.15.
Rosario tipped his charge a path to the outside and in the clear just past the quarter-pole and gave his cue while Higher Truth was still in front keeping Our Flash Drive at bay. Under Rosario’s right-handed encouragement, Fluffy Socks sped past her stablemate and held off Runaway Rumour’s late rally to win by a neck in a final time of 1:48.48.
Higher Truth, Our Flash Drive, Plum Ali, Third Draft and Harajuku completed the order of finish. Jordan’s Leo was scratched.
Rosario said Fluffy Socks has continued to improve throughout the year.
“Last time when I rode her at Del Mar she kept coming and coming and just missed,” Rosario said. “It looks like she’s getting better.”
Brown, who previously won the Sands Point with Ball Dancing , Uni , New and Improved  and Tamahere , admitted to having some concerns regarding the lack of speed in the race after likely pace presence Jordan’s Leo was scratched.
“I wanted a little more pace in the race. Irad rode a really smart race to take the initiative and set very fair fractions for Higher Truth,” Brown said. “For a minute there, it looked like she was going to shake free and get home. But Joel, on the other hand, took the initiative to put her closer than she normally is. He didn’t get bothered by an early move down the backside by the eventual runner-up and he found a seam and at the right time made the right decision.”
Rosario – who earned his 46th graded stakes win this year – is chasing Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey’s record of 55 graded stakes wins in a single season, which was set in 2003.
“It seems like he’s making all the right decisions this season,” Brown said. “He’s having a career year and I’m happy for him and happy to be in the winner’s circle with another graded stakes with him as he chases that record.”
Fluffy Socks returned $10.20 for a $2 win wager and cashed $110,000 in victory while elevating her lifetime earnings to $430,880 through a 10-4-3-1 record. The versatile Fluffy Socks has notched all four of her victories over different ovals and in different states. Following a second out maiden score last September at Kentucky Downs, she won her stakes debut in the Selima four weeks later at Pimlico Race Course, two starts before winning the Jimmy Durante.
Brown expressed pride in securing a graded stakes victory by a progeny of stable alumna Slumber, who captured the Grade 1 Manhattan in 2015 at age 7 and now stands at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, New York.
“He’s a horse we bought privately when he was already quite old,” Brown said. “We had a fantastic season with him and won the Manhattan and then he went off to stud. Sol and Michael Dubb actually supported the horse and sent a few mares to him and they got a couple decent runners. Sol took the initiative to take the horse back to New York and bought half a dozen mares or so to support the horse, which is a big commitment financially with the time it takes and such. He believes in the horse. I’ve only had two Slumbers and they’re both runners.”
Brown said Fluffy Socks would likely target the Grade 1, $300,000 American Oaks on December 26 at Santa Anita next out. He captured two of the last three runnings of the 1 ¼-mile event with Competitionofideas  and Duopoly .
“I’ll speak to the partners, but I would say it makes sense to keep going on her with in the American Oaks,” Brown said. “She already shipped well to California one time. I’d say that would be likely.”
Live racing returns Sunday at Belmont Park with a nine-race card, featuring the $150,000 Floral Park [Race 8, 4:21 p.m.] for fillies and mares going six furlongs over the inner turf. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
For info on the Best Breeders’ Cup Seminar click HERE.
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Fluffy Socks (Joe Labozetta Photo)