Thrilling Cotillion Goes to My Miss Aurelia
In a heavyweight slugfest between champion My Miss Aurelia and multiple grade I winner Questing through the stretch of the $971,200 Cotillion Stakes (gr. I), My Miss Aurelia prevailed by a head to remain undefeated Sept. 22 at Philadelphia's Parx Racing (VIDEO).
The daughter of Smart Strike is trained by Steve Asmussen. Only minutes before the Cotillion, the Asmussen-trained Dust and Diamonds sprang an 8-1 upset in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park, earning a berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 3. Assuming Dust and Diamonds continues on to the Breeders' Cup, she will no doubt be joined at Santa Anita Park by stablemate My Miss Aurelia in the Ladies' Classic (gr. I).
My Miss Aurelia banked $586,000 for the victory, a nice consolation for co-owner Bolton, who earlier in the day announced the retirement of his multiple grade I winner The Factor. My Miss Aurelia, who is named for Bolton's mother, has now earned $2,026,000.
Bolton bought My Miss Aurelia as a yearling when she sold for $550,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September sale. He later sold back half of the bay filly, who is out of the graded stakes-placed Sea of Secrets mare My Miss Storm Cat, to her breeders, Stonestreet's Barbara Banke and the late Jess Jackson.
Both competitors fought valiantly in close quarters through the stretch, bumping repeatedly. But My Miss Aurelia, under a firm hand ride from Nakatani, proved slightly better in the final yards to win narrowly in a terrific finish.
Following the trophy presentation, Nakatani said the race went as he and Asmussen planned.
"Our plan was to go ahead, let her do her thing and get her in a high position on the back side," Nakatani said. "We wanted to save our best for last. That's what we did today.''
When asked about the possibility of Miss Aurelia running in next month's Breeders Cup Ladies' Classic at Santa Anita, Asmussen said, "We'll see how she comes out of this race."
Questing, who was coming off a nine-length romp in the Aug. 18 Alabama, had to settle for second, with Dixie Strike and Ramon Dominguez 6 1/2 lengths father back in third. Moment in Dixie was last by a long way.
My Miss Aurelia carried 117 pounds, seven fewer than the high-weighted Questing, and paid $5.60 and $2.10. Questing, who ran fifth in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in her first United States start, paid $2.10. The exacta returned $8. There was no show wagering.
During her championship juvenile season, My Miss Aurelia broke her maiden at first asking in July at Saratoga. She followed up that effort with victories in the Adirondack (gr. II) by a neck at Saratoga and the Frizette (gr. I) at Belmont by an impressive 5 1/2 lengths before her dominating Breeders' Cup triumph.
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