Stonestreet Stables, George Bolton and Peter Leidel's Lady Aurelia, Europe's champion 2-year-old filly of 2016, impressively passed her first test of 2017 when she won yesterday's Giant's Causeway by 2½ lengths as the even-money favorite. The plan now is for the Keeneland-based filly to return to Royal Ascot, where she won last year's Queen Mary (G2), to contest the June 20 King's Stand (G1).
“She's doing great,” trainer Wesley Ward said with a broad smile Sunday morning. “She's feeling so great she can't stand herself.”
When it was suggested he might be feeling the same, Ward said, “Absolutely.”
He admitted relief after Lady Aurelia's performance in the Giant's Causeway, her first race since late September.
“There's always an unknown factor, although her works suggested (she would run well),” he said. “You never know until they do it.”
Ward said he would give Lady Aurelia “a nice big rest” for about 3½ weeks and “then keep clicking off half-mile, five-eighths works here at Keeneland on the grass until we get over there.”
He expects to send the Scat Daddy filly to England about two weeks before the King's Stand, flying direct from Indianapolis.
A year ago, Lady Aurelia opened her career at Keeneland with a 7½-length victory on dirt in track-record time. She won the Queen Mary on June 15, Darley Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville in France on Aug. 21 and was third in the Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park (G1) at Newmarket in England on Sept. 24.
Trainer Neil Pessin said that Lothenbach Stables' Nobody's Fault, runner-up in the Giant's Causeway, would be nominated to the $65,000 Unbridled Sidney to be run May 13 at Churchill Downs.
“She ran into a buzz saw yesterday,” Pessin said referring to Lady Aurelia. “The race at Churchill is a possibility and we'll see if she can get up at 5 furlongs.”
Defending Giant's Causeway champion Exaggerated finished seventh in her first start since last June.
“She is fine this morning,” trainer Arnaud Delacour said. “The winner just whizzed by us.”
Delacour indicated the $100,000 The Very One at 5 furlongs at Pimlico on May 20 may be next for Exaggerated.
“We will look at that. That's the same race she ran in last year (after the Giant's Causeway) and she was third to Lady Shipman,” Delacour said.
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