When Aurelia's Belle held on to defeat a fast-closing Stellaris by a three-quarters of a length in the grade III Arlington Park Oaks on Polytrack July 19, many felt the result would be reversed if the pair clashed again.
Following her defeat in the Arlington Park Oaks, Stellaris traveled to California where she again finished a fast-closing second in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) in her grass debut. In six career starts, the Mike Stidham-trained daughter of Harlan's Holiday, to be ridden by James Graham, has finished in the money in all of them, with three of those races taken off the turf.
Aurelia's Belle did have slightly more grass experience going into the Arlington Oaks, coming off a fast-closing second in the Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs, in which she was placed first on a disqualification. Trained by Wayne Catalano and ridden by Channing Hill, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid also has been a gem of consistency. She has won four of her eight career stakes and finished in the money in seven of them, with her only poor effort coming in the grade I Kentucky Oaks.
By virtue of her stakes victory over Stellaris in the Arlington Oaks and win in the Regret, Aurelia's Belle will carry top weight of 124 pounds and concede six pounds to Stellaris.
Although Aurelia's Belle and Stellaris are the class of the field, there are other sophomore fillies in the field of nine that could have a say in the outcome. One is Annulment, who is coming off a victory in a division of the Hatoof Stakes at Arlington. V V Goodnight, a fast-closing third, beaten a head, in the Hatoof, also has a big chance to at least hit the board. The daughter of Midnight Lute finished 1 3/4 lengths behind Aurelia's Belle in the Regret Stakes.
Kiss Moon, winner of the other division of the Hatoof, also is in the field, and her time in the Hatoof was more than a full second faster than Annulment. In her only other grass start, the Dave Vance-trained filly was a good fourth in the Regret Stakes, beaten 1 1/2 lengths. Maria Maria, second to Kiss Moon in the Hatoof, also has been entered by trainer James DiVito.
An intriguing addition to the field is the lightly raced Sistas Stroll, who will be making only her fourth career start. But the daughter of Stroll trained by Tom Proctor is 2-for-2 on the grass, winning a maiden race at Churchill Downs and an allowance race at Del Mar. The $20,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland September sharpened for the Pucker Up with a :59 4/5 breeze at Churchill Downs, second fastest of 58 works at the distance. Drayden Van Dyke has the mount under 120 pounds.
Another lightly raced filly is the Graham Motion-trained Final Redemption, who has run only twice in her career, winning her debut by 2 1/4 lengths sprinting at Belmont Park and then finishing a close second in an overnight stakes at Saratoga Race Course going a mile.
Rounding out the field is Ameliatheaviator, who has only a maiden victory in nine career starts.
Arlington International Racecourse, Saturday, September 13, 2014, Race 8
- Grade IIIT
- 1 1/8m
- 3 yo Fillies
- 4:45 PM (local)
|1||1Final Redemption (ON)||Edgar S. Prado||118||H. Graham Motion||-|
|2||2Annulment (KY)||E. T. Baird||120||Victoria H. Oliver||-|
|3||3Kiss Moon (KY)||Christopher A. Emigh||122||David R. Vance||-|
|4||4Ameliatheaviator (KY)||Carlos H. Marquez, Jr.||118||Kellyn Gorder||-|
|5||5V V Goodnight (KY)||Mike E. Smith||118||Thomas F. Proctor||-|
|6||6Maria Maria (KY)||Emmanuel Esquivel||118||James P. DiVito||-|
|7||7Sistas Stroll (KY)||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Thomas F. Proctor||-|
|8||8Stellaris (KY)||James Graham||118||Michael Stidham||-|
|9||9Aurelia's Belle (KY)||Channing Hill||124||Wayne M. Catalano||-|