An $800,000 yearling purchase, Aurora Lights is beginning to live up to her expectations as a 3-year-old after being unraced as a juvenile. The 9-1 upset was her second win in seven tries this season. She broke her maiden back in July at Woodbine and finished runner-up in a pair of allowance efforts entering the 1 1/16-mile Selene. Eric Coatrieux trains the daughter of Pulpit.
Under the handling of jockey James McAleney, Aurora Lights was taken off the pace and raced last through the backstretch, more than five lengths back of the leader Hooh Why. The Ashland (gr. I) winner earlier this season, Hooh Why posted easy fractions of :24.75, :49.41, and 1:13.60 while Carem Crescent and odds-on favorite Milwaukee Appeal chased her. Closing Speed was also never far off the pace.
Hooh Why and Milwaukee Appeal were nearly on even terms coming off the far turn, but they left a huge path along the inside for anyone who wanted it. A rallying Aurora Lights was happy to oblige and she took over from the leaders approaching the eighth-pole. The dark bay filly never relinquished her lead in the stretch, hitting the wire 1 3/4 lengths in front.
The final time on Polytrack was 1:43.37.
Milwaukee Appeal, the Woodbine Oaks Presentd by Budweiser winner, settled for second, a length in front of Hooh Why.
“I worked this filly (Aurora Lights) in Florida,” said McAleney. "Even then I had high hopes for her. Unfortunately, it took time to get her there. There’s more to come. She is a very talented filly."
Said owner Chiefswood Stable's Robert Krembil, who had to supplement his filly to the Selene: “She had a paddock accident just after we bought her. She was slow to get into training. She had some aches and pains. It took a while. Some develop more slowly than others. She’s one of them. We’re happy with her now."
Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams, Aurora Lights is out of the Lord At War mare Lady Lochinvar. The victory upped her earnings to $202,860.
Milwaukee Appeal has now earned $922,343 for C E C Farms with the $60,000 she earned for second place.
The winner paid $20.50 and $5.30. Milwaukee Appeal returned $2.20 to place. There was no show wagering. The exacta (5-1) was $54.90.
Carem Crescent was fourth, followed by Closing Speed. Saucey Evening was scratched.