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Corey Nakatani celebrates as My Miss Aurelia returns after winning the Cotillion Stakes.
The richest races on the continent this weekend were run on Saturday at Parx Racing with two $1 million events run at the Bensalem, Pennsylvania oval. Conditions were excellent most of the day with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80's, with the forecasted rains holding off until the conclusion of the card.
The feature race on Saturday was the $1 million Cotillion Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the main track, and is the first Grade 1 race to be run in the Keystone State. A short field of just 4 made final entry, but the race featured the long awaited matchup of 2-5 favorite Questing, winner of three races in a row including the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Alabama (G1) both at Saratoga, and last year's champion 2-year-old filly My Miss Aurelia, undefeated in 5 lifetime starts including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and the Mandy's Gold Stakes. In to challenge them were 8-1 third choice Dixie Strike, winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes against males two starts back, and 16-1 outsider Moment in Dixie, second in the Summer Guest last out.
Questing (inside) and My Miss Aurelia shortly after the start.
Also on the card was the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) won by Handsome Mike.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 My Miss Aurelia Nakatani 5.60 2.10 - 2 Questing Ortiz Jr. 2.10 - 4 Dixie Strike Dominguez - Winning Time: 1:44.54 $2 Exacta 3-2 8.00
Left: My Miss Aurelia in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Steve Asmsussen (far left) said, "She has a high cruising speed and both fillies fought to the wire. It was a great horse race." Asked about the Ladies' Classic he added, "We'll see how she comes out of this race."
Right: Owner Barbara Banke gives My Miss Aurelia a kiss in the winner's circle. Banke said, "She doesn't like to get beat."
Left: My Miss Aurelia heads to the paddock before the race. Jockey Corey Nakatani said, "I moved a little sooner than I normally would because the pace was so slow. When I committed (to running), I didn't think I had to use her as much as I thought I would down the stretch. What a tremendous heart this horse has. Our plan was to go ahead, let her do her thing and get her in a high position on the back side. We wanted to save our best for last. That's what we did today."
Right: My Miss Aurelia heads out for the post parade. The next day Asmussen said My Miss Aurelia would ship out to California on Monday morning.
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Questing returns after the race. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "She's a champion and we were giving her 7 pounds. But we just got beat a head, so we'll regroup. It was a great race and we lost, but we've been on a great run and a little bit spoiled too. I thought the racetrack was very deep and dry, and the times all day showed it. I'm just glad we don't run very often at Parx." Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. added, "She will go to California where she will be racing on a completely different track and in different circumstances, getting weight from most of the others."
Right: Third place finisher Dixie Strike in the paddock before the race. The 8-1 third choice raced third 4 lengths off the pace under jockey Ramon Dominguez, but could not keep up with the lead pair and finished third beaten 6 1/2 lengths. The Mark Casse trainee improved her record to 5 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 13 starts, earning $1,011,645 for owner John Oxley.
Philly Ace (inside) wins the Alphabet Soup Handicap
Jockey Stewart Elliott sent Winchill to the lead immediately and he set fractions of 25.78, 51.23, and 1:15.02 over the good course while pressed by 9-1 Sir Cadian to his outside. Into the stretch Winchill tired allowing Sir Cadian to inherit a short lead, but Philly Ace closed from 5th and held off late-running Roadhog by a nose for the win in 1:45.05. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Sir Cadian third.
Left: Philly Ace in the winner's circle. The 4-5 favorite raced fifth early under jockey Kendrick Carmouche, then took the lead at the 1/8 pole and held on for the win. The Christophe Clement trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 1 second, and 0 thirds in 4 starts, earning $150,000 for owner-breeder Brushwood Stable.
Right: Philly Ace returns after the race.
Left: Second place finisher Roadhog in the paddock before the race. The 3-1 second choice raced 6th early under jockey Horacio Karamanos, then rallied well but just missed. The Elizabeth Merryman trainee improved his record to 1 win, 1 second, and 0 thirds in 5 starts, erning $70,160 for owner Ellendale Racing.
Right: Third place finisher Sir Cadian heads out for the post parade. The 9-1 shot contested the pace under jockey Jose Flores, then tired late but held third beaten 2 3/4 lengths. The Cynthia Reese trainee improved his record to 1 win, 1 second, and 1 third in 4 starts, earning $60,200 for owner-breeder Dr. Klobia Carroll.
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