03/11/2013 2:50PM

Santa Anita: My Miss Aurelia primed for 2013 debut

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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.

scott More than 1 year ago
I have loved this filly since seeing her debut in Saratoga. Talented and runs hard every time. Good luck to all the connections, I hope she has a healthy year leading to a start in the BC Lady Classic. (Still Distaff for me really) Like John writes below, not sure whether to upgrade or downgrade anyone based on what I saw in Cali. I'll wait and see what Flshbck, Ghost, and Tiz do in the Santa Anita derby. I'll reserve opinion since Bode, Creative Cause, & IHA did so well in last years trip crown series. (and west coaster Paynter in Bel)
John More than 1 year ago
Sorry about the mistakes(sp) guys, my keyboard sort of drools ! Is Veranzano as good as he looked on Saturday, how about a east coast comment? Flashback vs Veranzano....................................or who is in the shadows, ready to all of a sudden pounce ?
John More than 1 year ago
If they could learn to spell, it might be different, but spammers didnt go to college for a reason, they are IDIOTS !(comments by Minnie?) Hey, this is turning into an interesting Derby, as usual ! Cant tell if Hear the Ghost is that good, or if Falshback just got cooked by a questionable trip ! I dont want to blame the jockey, riding a horse is not easy ! Thats twice Hear the Ghost firs right at the wire, someone pointed out he is just learning to change leads. Im wondering, if he does learn earlier in the stretch, then........"wow"
John More than 1 year ago
The site just below me is a FRAUD ! We checked it out, dont open anything or it will load a virus, be careful everyone! STICK TO THE HORSE'S
Mick More than 1 year ago
Not sure why this is even a conundrum. It seems a no brainer to run in the Santa Margarita, especially with a filly of the caliber of My Miss Aurelia, the Azeri makes no sense.
therealdubwhite More than 1 year ago
The Santa Margarita is a no name race run out in California where allowance and optional claimer types show up to run against usually 1 name female. The race will probably lose its Grade 1 status this year and i hope it drops to Grade 3 in the process.
Joel Winicki More than 1 year ago
You're negative opinion serves no purpose, and is completely unfounded. What race, exactly, has had more quality mares in it this year? How many high quality mares did Royal Delta beat in her last start? One. Believe You Can has beat who??? Nobody. Just another feeble attempt to trash talk west coast racing.......nothing more.
Mick More than 1 year ago
Oh please, you must not understand racing at all, which makes me wonder why you even follow the sport. The complete ignorance of saying the Santa Margarita is a "no-name race" manages to somehow completely ignore the rich history behind it. Every time I see a comment from you on here its always negative, might want to find another hobby or game since you seem to get no enjoyment out of horse racing.
James Pugliese More than 1 year ago
I dont think you will see her sprinting again soon!
Jordan More than 1 year ago
I think Jay makes the case for the Santa Margarita. And in my opinion, it's easy. No shipping, more money, grade 1, prestige. The Santa Margarita is one of the great races in North America for females. The list of winners and participants is a who's-who. A win in the Santa Margarita would give My Miss Aurelia 4 grade 1s for her career, the same number as Royal Delta and more than Havre de Grace. Go big.