Kumin Hoping for Success With Homebred Fluffy Socks in G1 Diana

July 13, 2023

Fluffy Socks takes the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) May 6 at Churchill Downs (Daniella Ricci/Past The Wire)

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Owner Sol Kumin of Head of Plains Partners is hoping to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana for the third time with homebred Fluffy Socks, who is one of four entrants for trainer Chad Brown in the nine-furlong Mellon turf test.

Fluffy Socks, by Grade 1-winner Slumber and out of the Kitten’s Joy mare Breakfast Time, were both campaigned by Kumin’s Sheep Pond Partners moniker. Initially standing at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, Slumber now resides in Hudson, New York at Rockridge Stud for a $7,500 stud fee.

Kumin is no stranger to success at a high level, having campaigned multiple Champions and American Classic winners. Most of his high-caliber runners are typically acquired at public auction, which only makes his homebred 5-year-old mare that much more special to him. He said he has sent 20 of his broodmares to Slumber this breeding season.

“It’s a big race, obviously. We’re looking forward to the next couple of years and seeing some New York-bred Slumbers rolling around wearing our silks,” Kumin said.

Fluffy Socks boasts an 18-5-7-2 lifetime record and is only a slim margin away from achieving millionaire status [$994,580]. She won the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante in November 2020 and captured the following year’s Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont Park while earning Grade 1 black type when third in the Del Mar Oaks and American Oaks in California.

Fluffy Socks arrives at the Diana off a triumphant 2023 debut in the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile on May 6, which halted a seven-race losing streak. The last-out victory was her first start since finishing fourth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive in October at Santa Anita.

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“I thought she’d run well last time. The biggest question was distance and whether she wanted to run longer or shorter,” Kumin said. “We tried the shorter race and we got the pace setup and she ran huge. Chad had said she was doing great and he expected her to run well and he has them ready to run, so I was less surprised that she ran well. I had a feeling that she would for Chad, but I wasn’t sure about the distance. I thought it might have been too short for her, but she ran great.

“It gives us more options between now and the end of the year and I think she can run anywhere from a mile to a mile and an eighth,” Kumin added. “I think the [Grade 2, $300,000] Ballston Spa [on August 24] going a mile and a sixteenth might be a really good spot for her later in the meet, but she can get the mile and an eighth, too.”

Kumin reflected on his previous Diana conquests with Dacita [2016] as well as 2017 Champion Turf Female Lady Eli.

“Having it be sort of the first big stake at Saratoga makes it a little bit more special,” Kumin commented. “We’ve been lucky to have won it a couple of times and obviously, the win with Lady Eli is what resonates with us the most. It’s definitely one of the best races to win in New York.”

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