My Miss Aurelia

My Miss Aurelia

Coglianese Photos

La Brea: My Miss Aurelia Can Nail Down Title

Last year's champion juvenile filly takes on six opponents at Santa Anita Dec. 26.

In spite of her abbreviated campaign, My Miss Aurelia can likely wrap up an Eclipse Award as the nation's leading 3-year-old filly with a win in the $300,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) on opening day of the Santa Anita Park winter meet Dec. 26.

Last year's champion 2-year-old filly, My Miss Aurelia is coming off the only loss of her career in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) to two-time winner Royal Delta by 1 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita Nov. 2.

But two earlier victories, including a head tally over Questing and two others in the Cotillion Stakes (gr. I) at Philadelphia's Parx Racing, put the Steve Asmussen-trained miss in prime position for another end-of-the-year honor. Such a development would have seemed unlikely considering she had not raced this year before a three-length victory at Saratoga Race Course in the restricted Mandy's Gold  in August.

My Miss Aurelia, who has been working exceptionally well at Santa Anita since her game try at overhauling Royal Delta, will need to be at the top of her game in the seven-furlong La Brea.  Also entered is a trio from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob BaffertMamma Kimbo, Candrea, and recent addition Book Reviewas well as the speedsters Reneesgotzip and Nechez Dawn.

The race, the fourth on an opening-day card that includes the $300,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I), has a probable post of 1:34 p.m. PST. Seven sophomore fillies are entered.

My Miss Aurelia, a daughter of Smart Strike out of the Sea of Secrets mare My Miss Storm Cat, is owned by George Bolton and Stonestreet Stables and was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings. She has won six of seven starts while earning $2,386,000. While undefeated around one turn, she has never tried the tricky seven-furlong distance. 

The favorite carries 123 pounds, five more than each of her rivals, and drew post 5 with regular rider Corey Nakatani aboard.

Baffert's Candrea and Mamma Kimbo ran first and second in an allowance tuneup at 6 1/2 furlongs Nov. 29 at Betfair Hollywood Park. Peachtree Stable's Mamma Kimbo, making her first start in more than six months, led all the way as the 3-5 favorite but tired in deep stretch after opening up a daylight advantage and was edged at the wire by a neck in a 10-1 upset for Candrea.

Mamma Kimbo won the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park in front-running style in April before hitting the sidelines following a fourth-place finish in the Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) at Pimlico Race Course May 18. The well-regarded daughter of Discreet Cat has been heavily favored in her past three races. Mike Smith has the rail on the bay filly.

Candrea, a daughter of Trippi owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman, registered her first win in five starts this year while ending a seven-race loss string. She was runner-up in last year's Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita. Like My Miss Aurelia, Condrea should run well if she gets a fast pace to chase, which seems likely.

Gary and Mary West's homebred Book Review was based in New York with trainer Chad Brown until recently. A two-time stakes winner this year, she disappointed in a pair of grade I races, finishing seventh in the Test Stakes at Saratoga and fifth last time out when well bet in Aqueduct's Gazelle Nov. 24.

Reneesgotzip hasn't won at Santa Anita since taking the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) in her second start nearly a year ago, but the Peter Miller-trained daughter of City Zip is not the speedball she was back then.

In her most recent start, the off-the-turf Skillful Joy Stakes at Hollywood Park at six furlongs, she rated a couple of lengths behind La Brea rival Nechez Dawn before wearing down her opponent in deep stretch to win by a neck on Cushion Track. Lanni Family Trust owns the versatile filly, a five-time winner from nine starts. Garrett Gomez is back aboard.

Ten Broeck Farm's Nechez Dawn has won four of five starts on turf for trainer Jeff Bonde and will be trying dirt for the first time in her career.

Glen Hill Farm's Creditcardroulette, coming off a first-level allowance win at Hollywood Dec. 1, would seem a bit overmatched. But trainer Tom Proctor has won with bigger outsiders.

$300,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I, Race 4, 1:34 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Mamma Kimbo (KY), M E Smith, 118, B Baffert
2. Nechez Dawn (KY), E A Maldonado, 118, J Bonde
3. Reneesgotzip (KY), G K Gomez, 118, P Miller
4. Creditcardroulette (KY), J Rosario, 118, T F Proctor
5. My Miss Aurelia (KY), C S Nakatani, 123, S M Asmussen
6. Candrea (FL), M Garcia, 118, B Baffert
7. Book Review (KY), R Bejarano, 118, B Baffert