03/11/2013 1:50PM

Santa Anita: My Miss Aurelia primed for 2013 debut

Barbara D. Livingston
My Miss Aurelia, the 2011 champion juvenile filly, will make her 2013 debut Saturday in either the Grade 1 Santa Margarita or the Grade 3 Azeri.

ARCADIA, Calif. – My Miss Aurelia is looking to celebrate her fourth birthday in style. The question is where the birthday party will be held.

A champion at 2 and a near-champion at 3, My Miss Aurelia is scheduled to begin her 4-year-old campaign Saturday – exactly four years after she was born – though whether she stays at Santa Anita for the Grade 1, $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes or travels to Oaklawn for the Grade 3, $150,000 Azeri Stakes had yet to be determined, trainer Steve Asmussen said Monday.

Asmussen said he was to discuss the pros and cons of each race with owners George Bolton and Barbara Banke and Banke’s adviser, John Moynihan. My Miss Aurelia has been training all winter at Santa Anita and polished off a half-mile in 47.60 seconds Monday, one week after blazing six furlongs in 1:10.60.

“The filly worked good this morning,” Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s Santa Anita-based assistant, said Monday. “The way she’s training, I’m excited to have her in training this year.”

The 1 1/8-mile Santa Margarita is worth twice the purse of the 1 1/16-mile Azeri and is a Grade 1, compared with a Grade 3. In addition, the field for the Santa Margarita will be small. Just five others – Great Hot, Joyful Victory, More Chocolate, Snow Fall, and The Only Key – are likely for the race. There were 11 nominations.

Bob Baffert said neither of his nominees – Book Review and Maker or Breaker – would run. Book Review defeated My Miss Aurelia in the seven-furlong La Brea Stakes on Dec. 26, then was second in the La Canada on Jan. 20 and the Santa Maria on Feb. 16. She is a light filly who is getting a brief freshening after three races here this winter.

The La Brea was the last time My Miss Aurelia competed. Though she finished third and was beaten only a half-length, she received a Beyer Speed Figure of 85, the lowest of her eight-race career. She had received a career-best 106 Beyer when a sharp second to Royal Delta in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic here Nov. 2 in her race prior to the La Brea.

The La Brea setback might have cost My Miss Aurelia an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly last year, since she finished just four votes behind Questing, whom My Miss Aurelia finished well in front of in the Breeders’ Cup and narrowly defeated in the Cotillion.

My Miss Aurelia was the Eclipse Award winner of her division at age 2 in 2011, when she won all four of her starts, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs.