FLORENCE — A year ago, Aron Wellman watched one on his fillies overwhelm the field in Turfway Park's Grade III Bourbonette Oaks with sheer brilliance.
On Saturday, another of Wellman's promising young distaffers had him making a return trip to that winner's circle on the basis of her fierce grit.
One year after taking the 1-mile Bourbonette with In Lingerie, Wellman and his partners in Eclipse Thoroughbreds scored a title defense when the Todd Pletcher-trained Silsita edged Marathon Lady in a bob at the wire to take the $100,000 test.
While In Lingerie blew her competition away by 6 lengths, Silsita upped the drama quotient when she stalked second behind pace setter Martha's Moon through a half in :47.56 and hooked up with 31-to-1 long shot Marathon Lady in a prolonged stretch drive.
The two left Grade I winner and 4-to-5 favorite Pure Fun hanging on for third as they matched strides, with Silsita getting up by a nose for her second victory in four career starts.
"To defend our title is pretty special," said Wellman, whose Eclipse Partners owns Silsita with Camil Torbay. "Her one dirt race didn't pan out but ... she's run so well on the turf and trained so well on dirt we thought maybe if you blend the two together we would get lucky here on the Polytrack.
"We thought if Pure Fun stubbed her toe, we might be all right."
Pure Fun was making her first start since winning the Grade I Hollywood Starlet in December and would likely go on to either the Grade I Ashland at Keeneland or Grade III Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn.
"It looked like she was fighting the track a little bit," said Kenny McPeek, trainer of Pure Fun. "It's a step in the right direction."
In the day's other stakes, Team Valor's Crop Report unleashed a monster last-to-first rally to capture the $75,000 Rushaway Stakes and set himself up for a possible start in the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com.