Aunt Pearl was a brilliant all-the-way winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland.
Brad Cox’s filly was the clear favourite to extend her unbeaten record to three following a Grade Two victory at the track a month ago and took a step up to the highest level in her stride with an awesome front-running display.
Florent Geroux’s mount made a smart start and quickly opened a clear gap over the rest of the field, with Wesley Ward’s Queen Mary and Prix Morny heroine Campanelle leading the chasing pack for much of the way under Frankie Dettori.
In truth, however, the remainder never looked like landing a blow on Aunt Pearl from the home turn, as she kept pouring it on and passed the post with plenty in hand.
The Irish pair of Aidan O’Brien’s Mother Earth and Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet made late gains to finish second and third respectively, with Campanelle weakening into fourth.
Cox said: “She did a similar opening quarter to what she did in the Jessamine Stakes here – I felt pretty confident she would have some kick left and she certainly did.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt (she can improve) and if you dig into her pedigree a little bit it looks like she could maybe even go beyond a mile.
“She’s a super talented filly and I’m very proud of her.”
Geroux raised the possibility of a trip to Britain for Aunt Pearl in 2021, saying: “She’s phenomenal – she’s purely gifted.
“Her workouts in the morning have been exceptional. She goes so fast, but she comes back to me (settles).
“I hope we can go to England with her next year – that would be great.”
Syndicate spokesman Michael Dubb said: “We have bought a lot of horses overseas through Liz Crow and this was one of the fillies. We knew from the beginning that she was the best.
“Brad is a genius. He plots everything and has enormous attention to detail. In fact he just lives and breathes horses. I do think she is in a league of her own and wherever we go, it will be another great ride.
“She has so much natural speed that we decided to let her roll as there was no reason to take it away from her.
“We will talk to the partners and of course to Brad, we will leave it up to him to plot a campaign.”
Asked if a trip to the UK could be on the agenda, Dubb said: “I leave everything up to my trainer and I don’t want to start telling him where he should run.”
Of Campanelle, who was trying a mile for the first time, Dettori said: “I had to chase her out of the gate before restraining her and that meant giving the winner four lengths.
“I think she would get seven furlongs, and at least we tried.”