BREEDERS' CUP JUVENILE FILLIES | PURSE: $2,000,000 | GRADE 1 | 2-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | 1 1/16 MILES
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- My Miss Aurelia capped an undefeated season, and most likely a championship season, while bringing some happiness to connections who endured a difficult year by dominating the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juveniles Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Stalking the pace of Candrea for about five furlongs, My Miss Aurelia took over approaching the five-sixteenths pole and cruised to a three-length victory over the previously undefeated Grace Hall. It was another six lengths back to Weemissfrankie, who also entered the Juvenile Fillies undefeated.
The win was the fourth from as many starts for My Miss Aurelia, who earlier this year won the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont and Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga. She undoubtedly will be crowned champion 2-year-old filly -- 23 of the previous 27 winners of this race have won the award.
"I think she truly proved that she stayed," said Steve Asmussen, the trainer of My Miss Aurelia. "Grade 1 winners were second and third and they showed up. She looked fabulous at the wire. I think she's a deserving champion and beat good horses."
My Miss Aurelia was bred by Stonestreet Stables, whose founder, Jess Jackson, died earlier this year. Jackson's wife, Barbara Banke, now operates the stable. The filly is co-owned by George Bolton and is named for his mother, Aurelia.
"Exhilarating, wonderful," Banke said as she walked to the winner's circle. "It hasn't been the best year for me, but I think this makes me feel a whole lot better."
My Miss Aurelia had shown good early speed winning the Frizette. Friday, jockey Corey Nakatani put her into the race, but she found herself stalking Candrea, who set fractions of 23.20 seconds for the quarter and 47.19 for the half-mile. My Miss Aurelia took over as she approached the five-sixteenths pole and opened up a clear advantage turning for home.
"I couldn't be any more pleased with the way she handed the track, it was so deep and heavy," said Nakatani, who won his eighth career Breeders' Cup race, first since Thor's Echo won the 2006 Sprint. "She relaxed. I had her in a really good spot, bided my time, let her kick clear, and she kind of went to looking around and playing. I set her down, put her to business, and she won the race pretty handy."
My Miss Aurelia, a daughter of Smart Strike, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.00 over a track rated good and returned $6.20 as the 2-1 favorite.
Grace Hall, under Ramon Dominguez, attempted to move his filly into position, but she was no match for My Miss Aurelia in the stretch.
"I angled to the far outside trying to have first run at the winner, but she had a little too much down the lane," Dominguez said. "My filly never stopped running. She really ran her 'A' race, just couldn't get to the winner."