By Jon Lees
USA: The international presence at Royal Ascot has been significantly reduced after Breeders’ Cup champion Aunt Pearl was ruled out of the meeting this year having bled when beaten on the Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs last Friday.
The winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf was entered in the G1 Coronation Stakes just a week ago but things didn’t go to plan in her warm-up race as she suffered the first defeat of her career when only fifth behind former Karl Burke-trained Gift Lift in the G2 Edgewood Stakes as the 1-5 favourite.
“She’d be out of Royal Ascot for sure,” said Bradley Weisbord of BSW Bloodstock, who manage the Brad Cox-trained filly for her owners.
“It was a shock to us all because the filly had never bled in any workout. She didn’t run on any lasix as a two-year-old. She was undefeated winning the Breeders’ Cup.”
“We were geared up to go to Royal Ascot,” Weisbord added. “Our whole year was planned on a prep race in the Edgewood and then going over there, but we wouldn’t try her this year.
“I do think she will act fine without Lasix. This is probably a one-off situation but we want to get her confidence back into her before heading over to try to tackle something like the Coronation.
“We are going to have to take a pass for this year with this filly, but we do anticipate trying to get her back there even as a four-year-old.”
Royal Ascot ambitions first surfaced after Aunt Pearl ran out an impressive winner of the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland. She beat Mother Earth by 2½ lengths, form franked at the weekend when the runner-up landed the 1,000 Guineas.
“That just shows you the form of that Breeders’ Cup was very good,” said Weisbord. “There is another in our stable, Plum Ali (fifth), who has also come back good as a three-year-old. I am very confident she beat a very good field of horses. It’s just we didn’t see the real Aunt Pearl on Friday.”