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My Miss Aurelia wraps up Eclipse Award honors with Juvenile Fillies win
My Miss Aurelia gave owners George Bolton and Stonestreet Stables a reason to celebrate on Friday when running away with the $1,818,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs. Powering down the center of the track, the Smart Strike filly easily moved her record to a perfect four-for-four when crossing under the wire in 1:46 for 1 1/16 miles on the good dirt with Corey Nakatani aboard.
"She's extremely special," trainer Steve Asmussen remarked. "How proud we are that she's a homebred (for Stonestreet Stables), and that George (Bolton) bought into her as a yearling. She's been everybody's pick at every stage, and she came through today with a great race."
Just three months following the death of Stonestreet Stable's Jess Jackson, My Miss Aurelia captured her career debut on July 22 at Saratoga by a length for Jackson's wife, Barbara Banke, and Bolton. Named after George Bolton's mother, the filly went on to make her stakes bow in the Grade 2 Adirondack, scoring by a neck in that Spa contest, before traveling to Belmont Park last out and adding a 5 1/2-length romp in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes to her resume.
"I know it would mean the world to him to win this one with a homebred because he was always interested in breeding a race horse, not just horses for sale, but horses that would win at the track," Banke said of Jackson. "We're so fond of the mare, My Miss Storm Cat, her first was Albergatti, who also raced for us and also was fast. This filly we thought was the best yearling we had. We were so pleased when George bought her and allowed us to stay in. So I know he'd be proud."
"I would say that Stonestreet, Jess and Barbara, have done great things in the sport," George Bolton said. "Obviously, Curlin was a horse we bought off the racetrack, but if you look at this year with MaClean's Music and Albergatti, this really outstanding filly, they've got top bred horses on the racetrack coast to coast.
"My mother -- this is factual -- has been to 19 races for me or for Barbara or when we've been with her at the races, and she's won 16 of them. It is a nice omen that she is part of the package as well."
My Miss Aurelia was content to stalk the early lead in second in the Juvenile Fillies, just outside of the pacesetting Candrea through splits of :23 1/5 and :47. The bay lass shot straight to the front exiting the final turn and easily rebuffed a late run from Grace Hall to score by 2 3/4 lengths on the line as the 2-1 favorite, returning $6.20, $4 and $3 in the process.
"She broke really well," Nakatani said. "My main concern was getting her in a good spot so I had options to go outside, or inside, or to the lead. Actually, she put herself in just the right spot. It's great to be connected with (trainer) Steve (Asmussen) and (assistant trainer) Scott (Blasi). They give you a lot of confidence when you ride."
Previously unbeaten Grace Hall was game in defeat, six lengths in front of Weemissfrankie, who likewise suffered her first loss in this spot.
"Right now I'm very happy," said Tony Dutrow, who trains Grace Hall. "That is an extremely good filly that beat us, but we beat the rest of them. She's (My Miss Aurelia) the best two-year-old filly right now, but maybe we'll be the best three-year-old filly next year.
"I tried to get to the winner, but she was a little too much for us," said Grace Hall's rider, Ramon Dominguez. "She's been doing great, galloping strong. I was very pleased. She ran great. She settled for me, and I had a beautiful trip. I wasn't very far off the pace horse (Candrea), maybe four off the lead, she just couldn't outrun the winner."
Self Preservation once again found herself running behind Weemissfrankie, who beat the chestnut in a pair of Grade 1s in California. Questing followed in fifth, with Miss Netta, Northern Passion, Putthebabiesdown, Frolic's Revenge, Say a Novena, Candrea, Awesome Belle, Rocket Twentyone and Homecoming Queen completing the order under the wire.
My Miss Aurelia, bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings Inc., is out of the Grade 3-placed stakes-winning Sea of Secrets mare My Miss Storm Cat, whose first registered foal is Northern Spur Stakes second Albergatti. My Miss Storm Cat is a half-sister to Grade 2 victor Soul Warrior, and this is the same female family as dual Grade 1 queen Cheval Volant.