On a fabulous day of racing throughout the country, no one had had a better day than My Miss Aurelia and her veteran jockey, Corey Nakatani. In fact you could say it was a perfect day for the pair. My Miss Aurelia received a perfect front running ride from Nakatani to win the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes. Nakatani, closing in on his 41st birthday, also performed a perfect wire-to-wire ride on European invader Western Aristocrat in the Jamaica Handicap, to win both grade 1 races in which he had a mount. My Miss Aurelia, a two-year-old daughter of Smart Strike, remained perfect in three career starts. Nakatani was perfect in his first six rides of the day. You get the idea; it was simply a perfect day for both, today at Belmont Park.
Sent off as the second choice in the Frizette, My Miss Aurelia quickly went to the lead from her inside post position. She need to be hustled to do so as Spare Change pressured her from the outside. Setting contested fractions of 22.64 and 46.02 and 1:10.38, Nakatani cut My Miss Aurelia loose as the field turned for home and the pair drew off in the stretch to score a 5 ½ length victory in the prestigious stakes race. The Steve Asmussen trainee completed the one mile in 1:35.22 which came back one-third of a second faster than juvenile male Union Rags ran one race later in an equally impressive score in the Champagne Stakes.
“She actually would have gone faster if I let her; I was just trying to get her comfortable at a high cruising speed, knowing what her abilities are and what she can do when you ask her to go,” remarked the happy jockey. “You’re basically just harnessing her energy and her power until the stretch and then you let her level out and do what she’s got to do to win the race.”
The win was My Miss Aurelia’s second stakes win, having taken the Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga on August 14. It also marked her second victory in as many tries over the highly regarded and race favorite, Stopshoppinmaria, who came home 2nd in the Frizette. With this impressive win, and unbeaten record, My Miss Aurelia is now likely to go off the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 27 days.
For Nakatani, the Frizette victory was remarkably his sixth of his day. He became the third jockey in Belmont Park history to win six races on a single card, matching the record of Hall of Famer Jorge Velasquez in 1981 and Ramon Dominguez earlier this year.
Besides My Miss Aurelia, Nakatani piloted three other winners for Asmussen, including the impressive return of Tapizar, who took it to other stakes winners, Uptowncharlybrown, and Boys at Tosconova, in powerful front running fashion.
Nakatani actually had the chance to break Belmont’s record and make it a perfect 7 for 7 with Rubber Duck in the day’s finale, but alas the pair could only manage a rally for third. Oh well, I guess nobody’s perfect.
Photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese