Winner of the Pure Romance Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) March 22 at Turfway Park and a maiden winner at Keeneland, the Lemon Drop Kid filly aced her bow at Arlington International Racecourse by three-quarters of a length over Stellaris. She's Offlee Good came in five lengths back in third.
The Wayne Catalano trainee now has consecutive wins after taking the June 14 Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) on turf via disqualification at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by jockey Channing Hill and carrying co-highweight of 124 pounds in the field of 10 sophomore fillies, 6-5 pick Aurelia's Belle tracked third behind pacesetter Phaniebdancing. The front-runner posted an opening quarter in :24.71, a half in :49.35 while leading by six lengths, and three-quarters in 1:14.69. Aurelia's Belle began a steady advance on the far turn, moved to wrest the advantage in upper stretch, and opened up by 3 1/2 lengths in the drive. She maintained a winning margin to the end under pressure.
Stellaris closed the gap but could not get to the winner, while She's Offlee Good had no final kick after stalking the pace. Final time for the 1 1/8-mile test was 1:52.24.
"I think the blinkers helped her move forward a little bit, especially in the last eighth of a mile," Hill remarked. "(Stellaris) really put her game on and chased us pretty well. I knew my filly was going to be tough. Down the backside she settled really nice and down the lane she moved to the lead pretty easily."
As far as what is next after her solid win, Catalano was noncommittal. "We'll go back to the drawing board and take a look," he explained. "She's been running pretty hard. We'll probably get her back on the grass. That's probably her surface." As far as adding blinkers recently, he added, "I just wanted to get her focused. She gets to looking around a little bit and I thought they'd help her."
Aurelia's Belle returned $4.40, $2.60, and $2.40. Stellaris brought $4.20 and $3.40 while She's Offlee Good paid $5.20. Interrupted, Maria Maria, Colonel Joan, Phaniebdancing, Army, Stock Yard Hen, and Annulment completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Alexander, Groves, and Matz out of the Danzig mare Aurelia, Aurelia's Belle was a $170,000 purchase at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale when consigned by Gainesway. She improved her record to 4-1-2 from eight starts, with earnings of $339.247.