08/14/2011 5:00PM

Saratoga: My Miss Aurelia works hard to stay perfect in Adirondack

Barbara D. Livingston
My Miss Aurelia holds off Millionsreasonswhy by a neck to take the Adirondack.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The form of an opening-day maiden race held up Sunday, but just barely, when My Miss Aurelia ($3) prevailed by a hard-fought neck over Millionreasonswhy in the 95th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Adirondack Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Two races earlier, Stopshoppingmaria - third behind My Miss Aurelia on July 22 - graduated by nearly 10 lengths in an eye-catching performance.

My Miss Aurelia pressed the New York-bred Bellacourt from the outset beneath Julien Leparoux through a quarter in 22.20 seconds, poked a head in front midway on the turn, and was quickly joined from the outside by Millionreasonswhy, who had been slowest from the gate in the field of five.

My Miss Aurelia clung to a short lead along the rail through a pitched stretch battle, and staved off second choice Millionreasonswhy after 6 ½  furlongs in 1:17.01 on a fast main track. Although the last sixteenth of a mile went in a slow 6.99 seconds, no one was gaining on the top two, and it was 14 3/4  lengths back to Bellacourt in third. New Wave and Anna Sophia completed the order of finish.

 A $550,000 daughter of Smart Strike, My Miss Aurelia earned $90,000 for her second win in as many starts for Steve Asmussen.

 “She definitely earned it,” said Asmussen. “I think she showed a lot, coming off one 5 ½-furlong maiden race to fight like that to the wire, especially with the way the race set up. She was challenged the whole way…I would have loved for it to have been easy for her so she can come back,” referring to the Spinaway on Sept. 4.