Society is much the best in G3 Charles Town Oaks

Last time out Society tangled with the likes of three-year-old filly division leaders Nest and Secret Oath in Saratoga’’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. Those waters proved a little bit too deep for the daughter of Gun Runner, and she finished a well-beaten fourth.

But in today’s Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks, she found a field much more to her liking. The result was a dominant 6 ¾-length victory that gave the Steve Asmussen trainee her first graded stakes victory in just her fifth start.

The class relief “helped a little bit,” acknowledged Asmussen’s assistant Caden Arther. “I mean, her last race, she ran against Nest, and she’s just an unbelievable filly right now. And Secret Oath won the Kentucky Oaks.”

Jockey Tyler Gaffalione rode one horse at Saratoga Friday afternoon and is named on six more Saturday. In between, he took a quick trip to the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia to ride three this evening, with Society the best of those.

Society broke alertly, and Gaffalione hustled her to the early lead while drifting down to the rail from her five-hole starting position. She held a slim edge over Louisiana shipper Free Like a Girl through an opening quarter-mile in 23.28 seconds and a half-mile in 46.54 – but she and Gaffalione seemed just to be biding their time.

“She’s got a lot of natural early speed and I wanted to be clear of the other one before the first turn,” Gaffalione said. “She’s got a real high cruising speed.”

Once they hit the far turn, Gaffalione was ready to kick on home.

“I let her out a little bit on the far turn, and she really shook clear of those other horses,” the rider, a winner of more than 1,900 races in his career, said. “She finished up real strong.”

Society and Tyler Gaffalione cruised in the Charles Town Oaks. Photo by Allison Janezic.

She romped home well clear of the tiring Free Like a Girl, who managed to hold second, 1 ¼ lengths ahead of last-out Grade 3 Delaware Oaks winner Midnight Stroll.

“She ran great,” Arthur said. “It looks like she likes the track very well. Tyler had a good ride on her, and she moved really easy. She was the best horse today.”

No question about that. Society, a homebred for Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, was sent off as the 7-5 favorite and ran better than that. Her winning time of 1:23.42 was the fastest seven-furlong race of the day, faster than older boys managed it in the $250,000 Russell Road Stakes one race earlier.

Society paid $4.80 to win. The exacta returned $13.00 on a one-dollar wager. 

Society, now four-for-five in her career, increased her bankroll to $545,775.

What next?

“Steve’s going to talk to the owner, get a game plan going and figure out the next best race for the horse,” Arthur said.

Which is a much more enjoyable conversation to have, with a Grade 3 already in the bank.