Handsome Mike Scores at 14-1 in PA Derby, Cotillion Winner Miss Aurelia Remains Undefeated
Saturday afternoon at Parx provided a “daily double” of breathtaking finishes, as undefeated Miss Aurelia battled head to head to score over Questing in the $1 million G1 Cotillion, and 19-1 Handsome Mike, with just a maiden win to his credit, scored by two lengths over Travers Stakes winner Golden Ticket in the $1 million PA Derby.
Stonestreet Stable’s and George Bolton’s Miss Aurelia, ridden by Corey Nakatani for trainer Steve Asmussen, galloped up on the outside of pacesetting Questing in final quarter mile of the 1 1/16 mile race for three-year-old fillies, and outshook the tenuous Godolphin Stable runner, crossing the finish line just a head the best. Questing was coming of a 9 length victory in the Alabama Stakes, while Miss Aurelia is now undefeated in six lifetime starts, including last year’s Breeders Cup Juvenile Filly Stakes.
Asmussen indicated that the plans were for her to head to this year’s Breeders’ Cup, as well.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., coming off of a second place finish in the Cotillion and a win earlier on the card for trainer Robert “Butch” Reid, was aboard Handsome Mike for the first time in the PA Derby for trainer Leandro Mora. Handsome Mike, a son of Scat Daddy, had won only once in 9 career starts, although he did pick up fourth place money in his two last efforts, the G1 Secretariat Stakes on the turf and the G1 Haskell Invitational.
Ortiz placed Handsome Mike on the lead early, and battled with Travers winner and favorite Alpha, who tired to finish last. in the 1 1/8 mile race.
It was the first time that two $1 million races were run at a racetrack on the same day, other than the Breeders’ Cup.
Earlier on the card, Monmouth shipper Well Spelled scored over the favored Trinniberg in the six furlong $300,000 Gallant Bob for three-year-olds, and in the $100,000 Alphabet Soup Handicap on the turf for PA-breds, Christophe Clement-trained Philly Ace won under Kendrick Carmouche.