Aunt Pearl Runs Juvenile Fillies Turf Rivals Off Their Feet

Jockey Florent Geroux hustled Aunt Pearl out of the gate to secure the early lead, then cruised to an easy 2 1/2-length victory in Friday’s $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland, covering one mile on good turf in 1:35.71 and paying $7.20 as the betting favorite.

The Juvenile Fillies Turf was the fourth of five Future Stars Friday races for 2-year-olds that kicked off the two-day Breeders’ Cup world championships at the Lexington, Ky., track.

Aidan O’Brien-trained Mother Earth finished second, with another European-based runner, Miss Amulet, a neck back in third. She was followed two lengths farther back by Campanelle, the Wesley Ward-trained filly who won the Group 2 Queen Mary at Ascot and Group 1 Prix Morny in Deauville.

Aunt Pearl, trained by Brad Cox, is a 2-year-old Irish-bred filly by Lope de Vega out of Matauri Pearl, by Hurricane Run. She was bred by Ecurie Des Charmes and Ballylinch Stud and races for the partnership of Michal Dubb, Madaket Stables, Peter Deutsch, Michael Kisber, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stable.

Geroux, one of the best front-end jockeys in the sport, was intent on putting Aunt Pearl on the lead, and the opening quarter mile in :22.55 suggested he might be asking the filly to go too fast too early. But he managed to slow things down, getting the second quarter mile in :24.75 for a half-mile time of :47.30. The third quarter was slower still – :24.91 – for an opening six furlong time in 1:12.21.

Despite those progressively slower fractions, no one was gaining on Aunt Pearl, who cruised past the furlong pole in 1:23.84 en route to her final time of 1:35.71 Her final quarter mile was :23.50.

“I know she is extremely fast. I just tried to get away good,” said Geroux. “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. Over the winter, hopefully she’ll grow a little bit and next year we can do it again.”

“That was a devastating performance,” said Cox. “She is an amazing filly. Very proud of her. Speed is her weapon and she knows how to use it. I was pretty confident (she would win) when I saw the :47 and (jockey Florent Geroux) obviously knows her well.”

“I saw the first fraction and I got a little nervous but Florent did a great job slowing it down the second fraction,” said Sol Kumin of Madaket Stables. “It’s a huge win. Brad Cox has done a tremendous job with the filly and she’s another Liz Crow buy. We’re thrilled. It’s a team effort and we’ve got really good people around us.”

Aunt Pearl debuted at Churchill Downs on Sept. 1, winning a mile maiden race by five lengths, then came back five weeks later to win the G2 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland by 2 1/2 lengths in similar front-running fashion.

The Juvenile Fillies Turf was the fourth Breeders’ Cup winner for Cox, a 40-year-old native of Louisville, Ky. For Geroux, it was the sixth Breeders’ Cup win for Geroux, a native of France who won the Juvenile Fillies Turf with Catch a Glimpse in 2015.

The post Aunt Pearl Runs Juvenile Fillies Turf Rivals Off Their Feet appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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