Lady Aurelia returned to the worktab Tuesday morning at Keeneland as the three-year-old filly star kicked off final preparations for an intended start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Del Mar on November 4. Under Julio Garcia, Lady Aurelia covered four furlongs on a firm turf course in :50.30.
“Julio’s feet were in the dashboard,” trainer Wesley Ward said. “We put her with the filly (Childhood) that we’ve got nominated to the (Franklin County [G3] on October 13), and it was a really good work. I was really happy. Julio did a great job of just getting her to settle and relax.”
Ward said he will continue to work Lady Aurelia at Keeneland on a weekly basis, weather depending, until her departure for California, which is scheduled for October 22.
Since a season-opening victory in the $100,000 Giant’s Causeway at Keeneland in April, Lady Aurelia has made two excursions to England. A dominating three-length winner of the King’s Stand (G1) against older males at Royal Ascot in June, her second win at that prestigious fixture following the 2016 Queen Mary (G2), Lady Aurelia most recently lost a tight photo to Marsha in the Nunthorpe (G1) at York on August 25.
Both races were contested over five furlongs, the same distance at which the Turf Sprint will be run this year.
“She’s a very, very — the fastest I’ve ever had — filly, so I like to have the spacing between races,” Ward said. “I just think that spacing is ideal. Especially being her first work back today, we’ll be able to get her (to the Breeders’ Cup) with what I believe is the greatest grass course in the world here at Keeneland, in good order — that’s the main thing.
“Lead her over to the paddock at Del Mar on race day as sound as she is today, it will take one heck of a horse to beat her.”