By Andy Stephens
Frankie Dettori thought he had guided the daughter of Scat Daddy to victory in the Group One showpiece at York - only for the photo-finish to reveal that his victory salute on the 10-11 favourite was unwarranted and that Marsha had prevailed by a nose.
However, Ward says Lady Aurelia’s demeanour since the dramatic dash indicates that she remains under the impression that she had followed up her triumph in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Keeneland-based trainer said: “They do know. If they’re running hard and they’re in front and then somebody blows by them, the next day they’re kinda like ears back, dejected and sad almost.
"But the ones that win are the opposite. Their ears are up; they come out of the stall bouncing. She really thinks she won.”
Having had a few days to reflect on the narrowest of defeats, he added: “I thought for a second that she might have won when Frankie was so confident.
“The filly that won it, she ran a valiant race to run us down. She was very courageous to come and get what I believe is the fastest horse in the world. I was proud Lady Aurelia made such a tremendous effort back to back from here in the spring at Keeneland to Ascot to that race.”
Lady Aurelia will return to America at the end of the week and will have a break before her final race of the year - the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint 4 at Del Mar on November 4. Betfair and Paddy Power make her a best-priced 13-8 for that contest.
“We’ll look forward to the Breeders’ Cup then [will] put her away,” he said. “[Owners] Barbara Banke (of Stonestreet Stables) and Peter Leidel have committed to running her next year and possibly the year after that.
"It’s good for racing to have a filly of this quality to keep going. Hopefully, she can maintain her form to where she runs such great races.”
Last year, Lady Aurelia won her career debut at Keeneland then captured the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville in France. She became the first American-trained runner to win a Cartier Award when she was named champion two-year-old filly of Europe.
Lady Aurelia opened her 2017 campaign with a win in Keeneland’s Giant Causeway in April before her success at the royal meeting.