LEXINGTON, KY – Given an easy lead from the start, trainer Brad Cox’s Aunt Pearl took the field from gate to wire in Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Keeneland.
Aunt Pearl shot out of post 5 under Florent Geroux as the 5/2 favorite and went straight to the lead, then outkicked Campanelle for sole command heading into the clubhouse turn.
Straightening out on the backside with a lengthy lead, Aunt Pearl posted an opening 1/4-mile time of :22.55 but was able to take a crucial breather and mute the tempo down to an opening 1/2-mile in :47.30.
Straightening for home still unchallenged, Aunt Pearl drew off only mild encouragement to win by 2 1/2 confident lengths and completed the 1-mile good turf route in 1:35.71.
“I know she is extremely fast,” said Geroux, who has been aboard Aunt Pearl for every start. “I just tried to get away good. She was off to a flying start. She went pretty quick early on, and after that, I tried to get her to relax. On the backside, she came back to me. When I asked her, she had plenty left. She’s extremely talented. I think the sky is the limit for her.”
Mother Earth rallied strongly in the late stages to take second by a neck over Miss Amulet, while Campanelle faded to fourth, just a head past Plum Ali.
Completing the order of finish came Spanish Loveaffair, Editor At Large, Madone, Oodnadatta, Nazuna, Invincible Gal, Alda, Royal Approval, and Union Gables.
Tetragonal and Snowfall (Also Eligible) were scratched.
Aunt Pearl’s win was her third from as many career starts, having broken her maiden at Churchill Downs in early September before setting a new stakes record over the local lawn in the Jessamine Stakes (G2). The Irish-bred daughter of Lope De Vega, purchased for almost $360,000 as a yearling, has now earned $652,784 for co-owners Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Peter Deutsch, Michael Kisber, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables.
“That was a devastating performance,” said Cox, who also saddled Essential Quality to win the TVG Juvenile (G1) one race later. “She is an amazing filly. Very proud of her. Speed is her weapon and she knows how to use it. I was pretty confident when I saw the :47 and (Geroux) obviously knows her well.”
Aunt Pearl returned $7.20 to win, $5.40 to place, and $3.80 to show. Mother Earth brought back $19.60 to place and $10.40 to show, while Miss Amulet paid $6.40 to show.