Friday, December 2, 2011

My Special Aurelia

Normally, this piece would be a since I discovered this filly before her maiden race and have followed her throughout her career. However, she is already plenty in the spotlight. Instead, this is a piece on how I came across this special filly, how talented she is, and what she has the potential to be.
In anticipation of an upcoming maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course, I researched the pedigrees of each filly in the race. I chose two fillies off of pedigree and was impressed by them in the post parade as well. One would finish fifth while the other would cross the wire victoriously. Though I knew the winner was a talented filly, I didn’t realize at the time just how special she would become. The winner’s name was My Miss Aurelia.
Obviously, her sire, Smart Strike, is very successful and has already sired a remarkable horse for her connections in Curlin. Smart Strike was the leading sire in 2007 and 2008 and is currently the second leading sire of 2011.

My Miss Aurelia
Photo: Terri Cage
To add to her impressive pedigree is My Miss Aurelia’s dam, My Miss Storm Cat. The daughter of the incredible pensioned sire Storm Cat was a stakes winner that also finished third in the Landaluce Stakes (GIII) as a two-year-old. My Miss Aurelia is the mare’s second foal. Her first foal was Albergatti, who was briefly on the Kentucky Derby trail earlier this year and finished second in the Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

In addition to her notable pedigree, My Miss Aurelia possesses imposing conformation. Her long, thin neck ties in correctly at the point of shoulder. Furthermore, her shoulder is strong and sloping, allowing her to be proportional and have a long, smooth stride. Her deep heart girth indicates that she has a large set of lungs, which clearly allows her to breathe well. Her quality muscling is also evident, as are her clean legs.

In her maiden race, the Steve Asmussen trainee sat in second under Julien Leparoux before taking the lead with about a furlong left. The bay filly drew clear in Stonestreet’s silks in the final yards, going on to win by a length over Delightful Magic, who recently finished fifth of ten in the Delta Downs Princess Stakes (GIII). The final time for My Miss Aurelia’s maiden victory was 1:03.59 for five and one-half furlongs.
My Miss Aurelia was made the favorite for the Adirondack Stakes (GII) next out. Millionreasonswhy, coming off a victory in the Matron Stakes (GII), appeared on My Miss Aurelia’s outside as the horses came around the far turn. The daughter of Grand Slam looked as if she would blow right past My Miss Aurelia, but the Stonestreet homebred owned by Stonestreet and George Bolton dug in and would not let Millionreasonswhy pass her. The half-sister to Albergatti, ridden by Leparoux again, prevailed by a neck and galloped out ahead of Millionreasonswhy. With her win, many ranked her as the top juvenile filly in the nation.
Along the way, I learned that My Miss Aurelia was named by Jess Jackson not long before he passed away. He had named the filly after George Bolton’s mother, who is a lucky charm at the races. The story led me to love the filly even more.
The Frizette Stakes (GI) at Belmont Park was My Miss Aurelia’s last stop along the road to the Breeders’ Cup. Despite the fact that My Miss Aurelia was highly-touted, the favorite was Stopshoppingmaria, the filly that had finished third to My Miss Aurelia when the Steve Asmussen trainee broke her maiden. Many were persuaded by Stopshoppingmaria’s recent romp in a maiden special weight. However, I was still on My Miss Aurelia’s side and was staying that way.
I was glad I stayed on her side. Just over one minute and thirty-five seconds after the two-year-old fillies broke from the starting gate and ran a mile, My Miss Aurelia flashed across the wire with Corey Nakatani aboard, five and one-half lengths ahead of Stopshoppingmaria. With her dominant win, she became the favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
As the championship race approached, I was torn between two fillies I had followed since their maidens: My Miss Aurelia and Weemissfrankie. Since the latter resembled my horse, I was partial and felt my heart leaning slightly in her direction. However, as the fillies paraded in front of me before the race, I had a gut feeling that My Miss Aurelia would stand in the winner’s circle to my left with the blanket of flowers draped over her withers.

Corey Nakatani celebrating with
Aurelia standing next to the special
filly named after her
Photo: Terri Cage

My gut didn’t lie. In one of the most impressive Breeders’ Cup victories of 2011, My Miss Aurelia won the Juvenile Fillies stylishly, crossing the wire three lengths in front. As I stood along the rail just a few feet away from the stunning bay filly when she was awarded with the winner’s garland of flowers, I watched as jockey Corey Nakatani celebrated aboard her, throwing flowers from the blanket into the air.
As I watched in awe, my cheeks were not just flushed by the cold. Before me was the beautiful filly that I’d followed since before she even stood in a winner’s circle and to my left were her blissful connections, including her namesake, Aurelia. As my mother snapped pictures beside me, I watched with my eyes glued to the champion, struck with a feeling that My Miss Aurelia was even more special than I originally thought. And considering I’ve known she’s special all along, it is unbelievable how special I believe she will be.

Photo: Terri Cage

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1 comment:

  1. I love My Miss Aurelia also, I know we will see amazing thing from her next year. Great Blog!!