06/20/2017 12:22PM

Royal Ascot: Lady Aurelia does it again


The original was a smash hit, and for a change the sequel proved equally satisfying, as Lady Aurelia followed up on her breathtaking win a year ago in the Queen Mary Stakes with a scintillating score Tuesday in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Under John Velazquez, who picked up the mount when a lingering arm injury forced Frankie Dettori out of the saddle Tuesday morning, Lady Aurelia quickly got into the five-furlong King’s Stand after breaking from the outside post in an 18-horse field. Prominent throughout, she settled nicely racing along the far side, picked up her pace about a quarter-mile from the finish, and stormed home a three-length winner over Profitable, who won the 2016 King’s Stand.

“We’re just elated,” said trainer Wesley Ward, who notched his eighth Royal Ascot win. “She really came through again. She had a good winter off. She proved today she’s really something special.”

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Lady Aurelia got a nine-pound break in the weights (121 to 130) as a 3-year-old filly facing older males. She pulled six pounds from the 4-year-old filly Marsha, who was third, a head behind Profitable, as the surprising favorite over Lady Aurelia in England. Lady Aurelia ran five furlongs on a fast-playing course labeled good-to-firm in 57.45 seconds. She paid $6 as the 2-1 favorite in North America.

Lady Aurelia went on from her seven-length Queen Mary rout at the 2016 Royal meeting to win the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville before finishing third making her final start at age 2 in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. Perhaps it was that subpar run that left many British bettors thinking Lady Aurelia had peaked very early in her career, but she hardly could have won the Giant’s Causeway Stakes in April at Keeneland more easily, and had earned nothing but praise from Ward for her subsequent work for the King’s Stand.

Lady Aurelia always appeared to be traveling comfortably for Velazquez, and with a furlong still to run already had sewn up her second Royal Ascot victory.

“She broke really well," Velazquez said. "She settled well the early part, which I expected. What a great feeling you have when you ask your horse to do something and they respond.”

Lady Aurelia was bred and is owned by Stonestreet Stables, George Bolton, and Peter Leidel. By Scat Daddy, she was produced by the Forest Wildcat mare D’Wildcat Speed, and her only loss from six starts came in the Cheveley Park. Ward said he hoped to point Lady Aurelia to the Nunthorpe Stakes on Aug. 25 at York.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime horse,” Ward said. “I’m really excited for her.”