Aruna retired

Aruna ran her last race last Sunday in the Spinster.  She was an amazing race mare for us and we will miss her.  I thought the following blog from Bits N’ Bunny that was written before the race was very well written and website worthy!  Thank you Bunny.

“Attending the races at Keeneland always requires a visit to the Keeneland library. A stop at the library serves as a brilliant prelude to the track’s upcoming opening “Fall Stars” weekend. This building overviews the Lexington bluegrass, providing a stylistic appetizer to the characteristically Keeneland splendor one will find all weekend. A noble sculpture of Northern Dancer greets entering visitors; trophies from the track’s historical races perch atop shelves above. You discover strapping leather scrapbooks just waiting to be thumbed through. Here a fan can venture into the wonderland of horseracing’s past glories, the dulled pages throttling anyone into the muddy triumphs observed by Keeneland’s first racegoers. I return to the 21st century only when Bucky Sallee prepares to play the call to the first post. As I walk out to an ocean of pristine green, I envision one day returning to see a scrapbook filled with moments I myself witnessed firsthand.

I know I will look back into the scrapbooks to see a photograph of Aruna – last year’s Spinster Stakes victress. I am fortunate to have witnessed this classy mare’s career. Her performances were memorable to experience firsthand – first her training and racing at last year’s Breeder’s Cup, and then again in her start in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland’s spring meet. I return to Kentucky eager to watch Aruna make her bid for another Spinster Stakes victory this afternoon.{jcomments on}

 

 

 Aruna is a markedly consistent home-bred daughter of Mr. Greeley and the Unbridled mare, Surya. In the midst of her four-year-old campaign, Aruna has various Graded Stakes contests to her credit and has earned nearly $1 million for her owners, Flaxman Holdings, and trainer Graham Motion. Her overall record consists of seventeen starts, seven wins, four runner-up performances, and one third-place effort. Of Aruna’s four outings this year, she won on one occasion, and placed in another exertion.

She actually began her racing career in France. Aruna competed solely on French soil from August of her juvenile season through May of her three-year-old campaign. After finishing sixth in the Group I Prix Saint-Alary, she traveled stateside to the Graham Motion stable where she would go unvanquished for the remainder of the year. Aruna became an instant success, as she took a one mile allowance at Belmont Park, followed by an ungraded stakes race, and finally, the GII Mrs. Revere Stakes by 1 ¾ lengths at Churchill Downs.

Aruna began her four-year-old season late in the year in the GII Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes, contested before the overwhelming Derby Day crowd. In this one mile endeavor, Aruna was 1 ½ lengths short of continuing her winning streak. Her American record fell to the Juddmonte runner, Aviate, who carried four pounds less over the firm turf.

However, Aruna would rebound off this solid performance to take Colonial Downs’ Edward P. Evans All Along Stakes by 1 ½ lengths despite a wide trip over the 1 1/8 mile event. The attractive daughter of Mr. Greeley proceeded to Saratoga’s most prestigious event for older turf mares – the GI Diana Stakes. In this forceful effort, she ignited a late finishing kick and crossed the wire surpassing all but the extraordinary mare, Zagora, who led Aruna by only 1 ½ lengths.
Perhaps Aruna’s best performance of the year came in the Spinster Stakes over Keeneland’s PolyTrack. A qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, this 1 1/8 mile challenge garnered a formidable field of twelve, and bettors awarded Aruna with favoritism. Aruna traveled wide throughout the entire race under the regular guidance of Ramon Dominguez. However, it was in the stretch run where the surging mare strayed seven paths wide to contend for the victory. Among a rush of rapidly closing finishers, Aruna proved superior by ½ length.

Aruna rounded out her four-year-old campaign with a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Seeming to perform at her best traveling over longer distances, she offered a grand effort in this 1 3/8 mile endeavor. Aruna offered her usual late surge despite fighting jockey Julien Leparoux in the early stages and swinging out four paths wide for the stretch run. She put forth a bold effort, but could not make up a sufficient amount of ground on the victorious Perfect Shirl to earn Graham Motion his second straight win in the race. Rather, she crossed the wire fifth in a tantalizing photo finish between the five quickest to the finish.

Aruna began her 2012 racing season in Keeneland’s GI Jenny Wiley Stakes. She crossed the wire sixth and last. She trailed a total of four lengths behind Daisy Devine, who actually makes her first start since the Jenny Wiley in this Saturday’s First Lady Stakes at Keeneland. Aruna rebounded off this lackluster performance to sparkle in the 1 3/8 mile Sheepshead Bay Stakes. After winning by 1 ¼ lengths as the favorite, she proceeded to the GII New York Stakes where she would go off as the second favorite behind the European star, Banimpire, who was beginning her career in Europe after being purchased at the Goffs November Sale for a record price of €2.3 million. The constant victim of misfortunate trips, Aruna came out five paths off the rail into the stretch only to be one length short of defeating Mystical Star who hauled four fewer pounds.

Aruna again experienced misfortune in a turbulent trip in the Beverly D. on the Arlington Million undercard, no doubt causing her to finish last behind the English invader, I’m a Dreamer. Indubitably a throw-out effort, Aruna now returns to Keeneland to defend her title in the Spinster Stakes. She will face a considerable challenge from fellow older mare, Tiz Miz Sue, and the three-year-old Ashland Stakes conqueror, Karlovy Vary.

Aruna is a horse one can always rely upon to give a strong performance. This mare may not always earn the winner’s splendors, but is a contender that should never go unheeded by the betting market. I eagerly await Aruna’s next start. Her physique never ceases to impress me – it is guaranteed Graham Motion will turn out looking a picture. I anticipate Aruna to put forth a forceful effort before the opening weekend crowds, asserting herself in the Spinster Stakes as the mare I hold in such high regard”.

 

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