Even with just four entries, the G1 Cotillion Stakes for three-year-old fillies on Saturday is more than it first appears.
Two-Year-Old Champion Filly My Miss Aurelia is making her second start of the year, and first graded stakes start since her G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies victory. She comes into the race with an undefeated record and the hype that she may be the same filly that she was before an injury took her out for most of 2012.
The Stonestreet filly's status has been built up even farther by her three length victory in the August 8th
Mandys Gold Stakes.
In the gate next to her will stand Questing (GB), a two-time Grade One winner this year. Questing's last meeting with My Miss Aurelia went to My Miss Aurelia with Questing finishing fifth in the Juvenile Fillies.
Questing career wasn't much to write home about for the first six races of her career. The filly had placed in a few stakes in Europe, punching her ticket to the Breeders' Cup but overall, she wasn't a horse that people would think of as a leading three-year-old filly.
In fact, there was talk of retiring her earlier this year. But since her 3 3/4 length allowance win on June 24, the filly has turned a corner with back-to-back wins in the G1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks and G1 Alabama Stakes. Even with a green looking stretch run by the filly, her time in the Alabama has made her a contender for a three-year-old spot.
Lining up on both sides of the main attractions are multiple stakes placed Moment In Dixie, who last finished second in the Summer Guest Stakes, and Dixie Strike, the winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes against males last out.
While Questing and My Miss Aurelia are the two favorites with morning odds of 1/1 and 8/5 respectively, the other two should not be discounted going into the race.
Moment in Dixie may not have a stakes win to her name but the Dixieland Band filly last finished just a 1/2 length behind Lady Cohiba, a two time stakes winner at the Summer Guest distance. While the filly doesn't look like she will challenge the two top competitors, she has never finished worse than second in her four race career.
Dixie Strike may be a surprise victor if she gets to the wire first but her record isn't one to sneeze at.
The filly was sixth in the August 6th Breeders' Stakes but the race was on turf, which may make it suspect when comparing it to her chances here. Before her Prince of Wales win, she finished third in Canada's premiere race, the Queen's Plate (granted, it was on the Woodbine all weather surface). The filly hasn't only been running in ungraded stakes, as she won the G3 Selene Stakes in May. Her record this year sits at 8-3-0-2.
Even if the Cotillion turns into the match race that it's thought to be, it is a race that has significant meaning outside of the $1 million purse being offered as Questing works on wrapping up the Three-Year-Old Filly Eclipse Award and the others try to unseat her from her throne.
The 1 1/16 mile dirt race is scheduled to go off at 5:40 local time at Parx Racing. It will be followed approximately 36 minutes later by the G2 Pennsylvania Derby, a match up between G1 Travers winners Alpha and Golden Ticket.