The undefeated My Miss Aurelia, champion two-year-old filly of 2011 will make her first start as a three-year-old on Wednesday at Saratoga in the $100,000 Mandy’s Gold.
Owned by George Bolton and Stonestreet Stables and trained by Steve Asmussen, the daughter of Smart Strike capped off her juvenile campaign by winning the Breeders’ Cup Fillies (G1) last November at Churchill Downs by three lengths over Grace Hall to wrap up the Eclipse Award.
She developed shin problems, which delayed her three-year-old debut until Wednesday, where she will take on six three-year-old fillies that look overmatched despite the champ making her first start off a nine month layoff.
The filly is no stranger to the Spa, breaking her maiden over the surface here last summer in a highly graded race, and then coming right back to win the Adirondack (G2) in her stakes debut by a hard fought neck over Millionreasonswhy, who returned to win the Wide Country in her next start, and in her most recent outing was the runner up in the Miss Preakness at Pimlico.
She made her Grade 1 debut in the Frizette on Oct. 8 at Belmont Park and took the field gate to wire, winning by 5 1/2 lengths, which sent her to the Breeders’ Cup as the favorite.
She took on 13 foes in the Juvenile Fillies and was sent off as the 2-1 betting favorite. She tracked the early pace, took command near the 5/16’s and drew off in the stretch to win by three lengths over runner up Grace Hall.
Grace Hall has developed into one of the top three-year-old fillies in 2012, winning the Davona Dale (G2), Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), and the Delaware Oaks (G2).
The lone loss for Grace Hall this year is a third place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) as the favorite.
The filly has been working steadily for her 2012 debut and looks fit and ready to go off the layoff for the Asmussen barn that is 20% winners with horses coming back off a +180 day layoff.
There are two other stakes winners in the field. Srumdiddlyumptious is coming off back to back wins, taking the Just Smashing at Monmouth Park on June 16, and in her last outing she won the Femme Fatale at Penn National on July 27.
Xunlei was not a threat in her last start in the Eight Belles (G3) at Churchill Downs, but did win the Florida bred Sophomore Fillies at Tampa Bay Downs on April 7.
The second choice on the morning line is Delightful; Quality (6-1), who is coming off a good looking maiden score in her second career start on June 7 at Belmont Park.
The Tom Albertrani trainee drew off to win by 6 ¾ lengths.
In her debut she ran a good second behind Moment in Dixie, who came back to beat Alw-1 foes in her next start, and then run second in the Serena’s Song at Monmouth Park on July 15.
The filly looks as if she has a ton of upside potential and she is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Folklore ($945,500).
Saratoga Race 8 The $100,000 Mandy’s Gold Post time 4:55 ET
1 Well Kept 15-1
2 Srumdiddlyumptious 10-1
3 Delightful Quality 6-1
4 Ageless 15-1
5 Ullapool 8-1
6 My Miss Aurelia 2-5
7 Xunlei 15-1
Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Saratoga each racing day. Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each weekend, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.
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