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Breeders' Cup 2017

Don’t be too quick to get down on My Miss Aurelia

With a crash and a thud and a boom and a bang, fickle fans of racing jumped ship in mid-stretch of yesterday’s Grade 1 La Brea Stakes. The excellent three-year-old filly, My Miss Aurelia, went down at odds of 2-5 much like the Mighty Casey had done so many years before. 

Book Review won the La Brea by a neck, with Reneesgotzip finishing another neck in front of My Miss Aurelia. It was a surprising result to many, and to some it even meant that the favorite must simply not be as good as they thought. For me, the latter portion of this statement could not be any farther from the truth.

Yesterday’s task was a difficult one to begin with for the Steve Asmussen trained miss. My Miss Aurelia had run her heart out in the fall with two superlative efforts, especially when you consider she was a filly light in conditioning in 2012. In the Cotillion victory and the runner-up finish to Royal Delta in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, she had proven her class with two bang-up efforts in a pair of big two-turn races. Now she was asked to turn back to a sprint distance against some of the best female sprinters around, and give them plenty of weight while doing so. In truth, I thought she could do it, but recognizing the recipe for an upset was never too far from the surface. 

In the end, it was contested and crazy early fractions that were her undoing. While long shot Nechez Dawn went right after the blazing speed of Reneesgotzip, it would have made sense for My Miss Aurelia to sit back a little and wait for the speed to get softened up. Instead she was sent headfirst into the fire through an opening two furlongs in 22.42 seconds, and then a brutal half in 44.17. Surely that second quarter of 21.75 seconds would become telling in the late stages of the long sprint. But as the interloper fell away, Reneesgotzip, on the inside, and My Miss Aurelia continued their battle through much of the stretch. Book Review, who was well back early, and a real seven furlong filly, would be the one to come, and her rally proved irresistible to the leg-weary leaders.

For his part in the half-length defeat, My Miss Aurelia’s rider, Corey Nakatani, offered this after the race, “Not the ideal trip. I wanted to be back a little ways (off the pace).  I was sitting there against her and they’re riding next to me and you move on her and she goes.  I was trying to wait-wait-wait-wait and when you do that, it takes the race away from her.  It wasn’t the best of trips.”

In truth, Nakatani was between a rock and a hard place yesterday. If you are aboard a 2-5 champion that waits too long to go after one of the fastest fillies in the nation, in Reneesgotzip, you may never get to ride said champion again if she does not get up at the sprinting distance of seven panels. Nakatani chose to go, and the blistering pace, along with a solid bump in the stretch, and the giving of five pounds, and coming out of a tough pair of longer races, and … well you get the idea. There was absolutely nothing to be ashamed with in My Miss Aurelia’s performance yesterday.

I may suddenly now be in the minority, but I still believe that My Miss Aurelia is the finest three-year-old filly in the land. Maybe it is the fact that she has defeated her primary competition for the Eclipse Award, Questing, in all three of their meetings, or maybe it is simply due to my staunch belief that the Champion Juvenile Filly of 2011 is truly a good one. Either way, I will hold on to this belief through the Eclipse Award announcements, no matter which way the chips may fall, and wait with eager anticipation for a healthy and mature version of My Miss Aurelia in 2013.


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Older Comments about Don’t be too quick to get down on My Miss Aurelia...

I still feel Questings Alabama was the best race by a 3 year old filly this year. MMA still only has 1 GR1 win, and a listed stakes win vs Questings 2 GR1's.
For those getting ready to watch & wager the Sunshine Millions in 3 weeks, this race is a harbinger of things to come. Over the years when a horse ships in for the Millions after running their last race in a BC race, two things happen- 1. they are underlays and 2. they don't often win. just sayin'
Racing Form analyst pointed out that the pace cooked her and I re-evaluated the race to find that the winner has faced MUCH faster fractions than anyone in the contest.
There is no reason at this point in time for anyone to doubt that MMA is a high quality filly. She lost the BC against a very top drawer older filly in Royal Delta and has now lost at a distance which she was probably not best suited to run. Any horse can lose any race on any given day, that's why they have gambling. She should have a good four year old season if given a chance by her connections. (That is letting her run at distances she is more comfortable running, etc.)
Totally agree...100%! My Miss Aurelia is a fantastic filly, she is indeed the finest three-year-filly, despite what happened Wednesday!
Agree it's premature to write her off...for myself, I wanted her to wrap up the Eclipse award, and that may be the source of disappointment for many...I guess I don't know enough yet to really criticize, but I question the reasoning behind the wide differences in distances for her....she runs from 6 1/2 f to 1 1/8 miles. I've always thought that sprints were harder on them from the aspect of having to run full out right out of the gate, whereas, longer distances allow for a more gradual buildup....as I said....not criticizing, just questioning if she woiuldn't have been better off going 1 mi+.
Once the 2 & 3 hooked up, I don't know what Nakatani was thinking going up there. I don't feel like anyone forced his hand. He looked to be in a good spot on the outside, and could have taken back a bit and then rallied off the pace. If Reneesgotzip was loose on the lead, I can see him going up there, but I think it was an anxious move.
This reminded me of the Rachel Life at Ten duel, and a closer steals the deal. Brought back memories, and I haven't left MMA. I'm still a fan.
They wanted another grade 1 win this year.
You certainly cannot fault MMA for any of her races this year. She's ran 4 big races this year, but I'm not convinced that that will get her the Eclipse. With that being said, I don't think there is a clear winner for the division either, so it could literally be anyone's award.
Truth of the matter is however Corey or anyone else tries to defend his actions, he rides with a wild hair up his arse and always will.
One of the most UN reliable starts ANY horse makes is their first move as essentially a three year old.
I completely agree with Brian, but I must add that as good as Nakatani's ride was in the Cotillion, his decision making in the La Brea showed a lack of confidence in MMA and that really surprised me. Nakatani is usually at his best in sprints, but not so yesterday.

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