Already the first United States-trained horse to earn a Cartier Award, Lady Aurelia added another eye-catching victory in England June 20 when she overwhelmed older males in the King's Stand Stakes (G1) before a crowd of 44,235 at Royal Ascot.
Stonestreet Stables, George Bolton, and Peter Leidel's Lady Aurelia raced prominently in the five-furlong test before delivering a late burst under John Velazquez to separate herself from 16 rivals and register a three-length victory over last year's King's Stand winner Profitable.
In completing the race in :57.54, Lady Aurelia becomes the first 3-year-old to win the King's Stand since Equiano in 2008 and the first 3-year-old filly to win the race since Dominica in 2002.
"You never know (what will happen). This is a group 1 with some of the fastest horses in the world, and to duplicate what she did last year, she is a once in a lifetime horse," said trainer Wesley Ward, who saddled his eighth career Royal Ascot winner. "She loves it over here. We look forward to a really big summer and then the Breeders' Cup. The owners are so excited. It is wonderful for American racing."
In her first try against older horses, in this case a field that included older males, Lady Aurelia earned a group stakes win at the Royal Ascot meeting for the second straight year after taking the 2016 Queen Mary Stakes (G2) against other juvenile fillies.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet, Lady Aurelia was guided to victory Tuesday by Hall of Famer Velazquez, who picked up the mount from an injured Frankie Dettori.
"For me this is a blessing—not to take anything away from Frankie, he's a good friend of mine and I feel really bad for him," Velazquez said. "It was a great feeling. When a horse is travelling so beautifully and responds right away when you ask, you can't get better than that. She's definitely very fast. To come back here for a second time and do what she did today, she's got to be a special horse."
Sent off at 7-2 in local pools, Lady Aurelia was followed home by Profitable, who just edged group 1-winning 4-year-old filly Marsha for second. Ward suggested that a start in the group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August would be next on the agenda for Lady Aurelia.
"This is a once in a lifetime horse and I need to sit down with the owners but I would like to go the Nunthorpe Stakes at York with her next," he said, while also suggesting the filly could stay in training for her 4-year-old season. "The owners are sportsmen and sportswoman and I would say that as long as she keeps sound, she will carry on racing."
One race after the King's Stand, Godolphin's Barney Roy secured his first group 1 win in the St James's Palace Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile. Godolphin took the meet-opening Queen Anne Stakes (G1) Tuesday with Ribchester and the operation would go on to celebrate a third time later on the card when Sound And Silence bested stablemate Roussel in the listed Windsor Castle Stakes to head a 1-2 Godolphin finish in that race.
Taken to the outside by James Doyle in the stretch, Barney Roy surged to a one-length victory in the St James's Palace. He was followed home by last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) runner-up Lancaster Bomber, a Kentucky-bred son of War Front ; and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) starter Thunder Snow.
Churchill, who defeated Barney Roy in the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (G1), would finish fourth.
"It means everything to win this—we've had a lot of good milers through our hands, horses like Toronado, Olympic Glory and Sky Lantern, and when they leave there is a big hole in the yard, so we are frantically searching for the next one," said Richard Hannon, trainer of Barney Roy. "We thought we had one, and after the Guineas we knew we had one—we just had to get the best out of him."
One race before the King's Stand, Rebel Racing's Rajasinghe scored a head victory over Headway in the Coventry Stakes (G2), a six-furlong test for juveniles. Rajasinghe improved to 2 for 2 after winning his debut on the all-weather track at Newcastle May 19 before taking his stakes debut Tuesday.
Rajasinghe is trained by Richard Spencer and he was guided to victory in the Coventry by Stevie Donohoe.