Making her Keeneland debut Oct. 7 in the $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (G2T), Aunt Pearl quite literally left her competition in the dust when she shattered the stakes record for the 8 1/2-furlong test.
“She’s got a lot of natural speed, and she’s very quick away from the gate,” trainer Brad Cox said. “Before she ever even ran, she only worked from the gate once, so we know she’s very gifted, naturally quick, and speed is her weapon. She’s been able to utilize that in both of her starts, and we’re very proud of her.”
Sent off as the 3-2 favorite, Aunt Pearl broke alertly under jockey Florent Geroux, got up to the front of the field with confident opening strides, and settled in just off the rail to take the lead. From that point, she never showed any signs of slowing.
Leading at every point of call, Aunt Pearl clicked off fractions of :22.28 and :46.65 through the half-mile while maintaining a 1 1/2-length lead. Navratilova followed just off the leader in second, followed by Spanish Loveaffair in third.
Entering the turn, Navratilova began to give way, opening up more space for Spanish Loveaffair to take aim at the leader as they reached the top of the stretch in 1:11.32. Driving hard on the outside, Spanish Loveaffair tried to match pace with Aunt Pearl but simply could not keep up. Aunt Pearl pounded away at the turf all the way to the finish line and crossed the wire 2 1/2 lengths clear.
Spanish Loveaffair held for second, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Ingrassia in third.
“I was going faster than I thought,” Geroux said. “Looking at the fractions, I was, ‘Wow.’ I thought they would be much slower than that. She has short legs, but they move very fast, for sure. I’m very impressed with her.”
The final time was 1:40.86, nearly two seconds faster than the previous record of 1:42.21 set by Solvig in 1999. Aunt Pearl also picked up an automatic berth in the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) at Keeneland.
“We always loved her from the beginning,” Geroux said. “We thought she was a very nice filly. I had to make her work a little bit today down the stretch. In her first race, she didn’t get anything out of it. She was pretty much on cruise control the whole time. If we want to be a factor in the Breeders’ Cup, she needed to do a little something today. She was very impressive, and I’m very pleased with her.”
“That was pretty neat,” Cox said. “It’s a very prestigious race, and for her to be at the top … hopefully this is the next step to the Breeders’ Cup, and hopefully we can do something similar on Breeders’ Cup Day.”
Aunt Pearl entered the Jessamine off her Sept. 1 debut at Churchill Downs, where she defeated her rivals by five lengths in gate-to-wire style when going one mile on the turf. She was shipped to Keeneland last week, and Cox said all systems were go ahead of the Jessamine.
“We shipped her in like four days ago, and she’s been here training at Keeneland but she trained here in the spring, so she has been here before,” Cox said. “I thought that was a good thing. She obviously schooled a couple days prior to the race, and she handled it all well. That gave us the confidence to know that we could feel confident she would be able to take it all in and handle everything well today, and she did.”
Aunt Pearl is campaigned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Peter Deutsch, Michael Kisber, and The Elkstone Group. Bred in Ireland by Ecuire Des Charmes and Ballylinch Stud, the filly is out of the Hurricane Run mare Matauri Pearl. She was purchased by BSW Euro Venture at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale for $358,767 from the Ballylinch Stud consignment.
Aunt Pearl’s two wins have awarded her total purses of $132,784.
Aunt Pearl (IRE), b, 2/f
Lope de Vega (IRE) — Matauri Pearl (IRE), by Hurricane Run (IRE)
Owner: Madaket Stables, LLC (Sol Kumin and Jason Monteleone), Michael Dubb, Michael E. Kisber, Peter Deutsch and The Elkstone Group, LLC (Stuart Grant)
Breeder: Ecurie Des Charmes & Ballylinch Stud (IRE)
Trainer: Brad H. Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.
Lope de Vega (IRE) stands at Ballylinch Stud for 100,000 Euros (2020).
TATOC12019 • $358,766 • Consignor: Ballylinch Stud • Buyer: Liz Crow, agent for BSW Euro Venture.
Originally appeared in the Bloodhorse on October 7th 2020BACK TO NEWS