12/21/2012 5:23PM

Santa Anita: My Miss Aurelia looks to nail down Eclipse Award in La Brea

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Tom Keyser
A win by My Miss Aurelia in the Grade 1 LaBrea would enhance her chances of being voted champion 3-year-old filly.

ARCADIA, Calif. – My Miss Aurelia was the champion 2-year-old filly of 2011, but her bid to repeat at age 3 in 2012 was seemingly compromised by a late start, since she did not return until August. But in a little more than four months, she has more than made up for lost time. She is on the short list of contenders for her division’s Eclipse Award, and responsible voters will get another chance to evaluate her campaign before the polls close when she runs in the Grade 1, $300,000 La Brea Stakes on Wednesday at Santa Anita.

The La Brea, at seven furlongs, was not originally on the winter itinerary for My Miss Aurelia. She won her first two starts following a nine-month layoff, to remain unbeaten, and then beat all but Royal Delta in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

But My Miss Aurelia trained so well coming out of the Ladies’ Classic that the La Brea became a viable option. She never has lost around one turn, and should be a short-priced favorite against six rivals.

“She’s just done great,” said Scott Blasi, the top assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen who oversees his Santa Anita string. “Only having three races so far this year, she’s really fresh.

“Her work last week was exceptional,” Blasi said, referring to a five-furlong drill in 59  seconds on Dec. 12. “She’s just special.”

My Miss Aurelia won the Grade 1 Cotillion in September, beating Questing, and was well in front of Questing in the Ladies’ Classic. A win in the La Brea would enhance her already strong credentials for a divisional title.

My Miss Aurelia carries top weight of 123 pounds, five more than her rivals.

Bob Baffert will try to stop My Miss Aurelia with three entrants – Candrea and Mamma Kimbo, who ran one-two in an allowance race last month at Betfair Hollywood Park, and recent acquisition Book Review.

Although Candrea won that race against Mamma Kimbo, Mamma Kimbo is the more highly regarded of the pair. She figures to improve off her last race, which was her first start in more than six months.

“She ran well. She just got a little tired,” Baffert said.

Mamma Kimbo defeated maidens sprinting in her debut here in February, then won the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park in her second start.

Book Review, previously trained by Chad Brown, was well beaten in a pair of Grade 1 races in New York this year, the Test and the Gazelle.

The versatile Reneesgotzip won a minor stakes race going six furlongs at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 1, which followed an outstanding third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. This will be the first time since March that she has raced beyond 6  1/2 furlongs, but she has learned to ration her speed in recent starts, which should serve her well in this spot.

The speedy Nechez Dawn could not hold off Reneesgotzip on Dec. 1. This will be her first attempt at seven furlongs, and her first race ever on dirt.

Creditcardroulette beat a soft first-level allowance field at Hollywood Park on Dec. 1. She looks overmatched against these.