Lady Aurelia Retires From Racetrack: Review Of Her Career

Wesley WardGlobetrotting sprint star Lady Aurelia is set for a new career as a broodmare. Trained by Wesley Ward, the four-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy dazzled at the highest level as far afield as the UK and France.

Ward knew from day one that Lady Aurelia was something special, her work at home was spectacular. She was the heavy favorite when she broke her maiden on her debut on the dirt at Keeneland as a juvenile.

Next it was the turf at Royal Ascot where Lady Aurelia’s awesome seven length victory in the Queen Mary Stakes for juvenile fillies was the highlight of the entire meeting for many. She was the pick of the paddock, dwarfing her rivals and started as the 2/1 favorite. She did not give her supporters any cause for concern. She blasted out of the gates under Frankie Dettori into a lead that was never going to be seriously challenged, only extended to an extraordinary distance when asked for an effort. The win was particularly impressive as it was achieved on unsuitably soft ground.

It was a similar story when she took on the colts at Deauville, France in the Group 1 Prix Morny. She won by less than a length but looked to have the race won soon after the gates opened. Lady Aurelia was only defeated once as a juvenile, finishing third at Newmarket, England in September after allegedly breaking a blood vessel. She gained the Cartier Award for the top juvenile filly and was the first US-trained horse to receive the accolade.

After a break of over 200 days from the racetrack Lady Aurelia won easily at Keeneland on her first start as a three-year-old in April 2017 in the Giant’s Causeway Stakes for fillies and mares. Having proved she retained her talent and enthusiasm she was shipped to Royal Ascot.

Ward let Lady Aurelia line up against the colts and older horses in the five furlong Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes. She started as the 7/2 second favorite and had no problem dispatching her 16 rivals, beating Godolphin’s Profitable three lengths under John Velazquez.

Two months later she was taken to York to line up against the colts again in the Nunthorpe Stakes – the winner gains a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. It was a one-two for the fillies but Lady Aurelia was beaten by the narrowest of margins by Marsha, a similarly outsized filly.

In November Lady Aurelia had her next start at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint but, having started as the 8/11 favorite, she was beaten three lengths by Stormy Liberal and finished out of the money in tenth. Marsha finished sixth and, as planned before the race, she was sold to start a new life as a broodmare.

Lady Aurelia was the heavy favorite at Keeneland in the Giant’s Causeway Stakes on her debut as a four-year-old in April but was beaten one and a half lengths by Triple Chelsea, taking the second spot. Bettors supported her again when she returned to Royal Ascot for the King’s Stand Stakes on the good to firm ground but she failed to shine. She broke uncharacteristically slowly and never managed to grab the lead under Velazquez, weakening in the final 100 yards to finish seventh, beaten five lengths by Godolphin’s Blue Point.

Ward must have known that she could not be relied upon to make it three straight wins at Ascot. When questioned about the chances of his runners at the meeting he did not think that she was the most likely winner among them.

After the decision to retire Lady Aurelia was announced Ward admitted that he had previously been keen to keep her in training as she was so sound and gave all the right signs at home. If the usual Lady Aurelia had showed up at Royal Ascot he was hoping to fill a gap on her resume with a Breeders’ Cup win.

It was her owners from Stonestreet Farm, Peter and Barbara Banke, who decided it was time for her to start a new career away from the racetrack. Breeding plans have not been divulged yet but Ward is hoping that she passes on her talent to her offspring.