Twelve years have passed since coach Wesley Ward was the first Royal Ascot player, although his memory of the Ascot race and its aftermath lingers on.
Kane and Sarah Ramsey cannon It gave him his first try at the prestigious British meet, finishing sixth out of 15 in the 2009 King’s Stand Stakes (G1). Catinos The 4-year-old rallied from the past, to make up the ground in hindsight for the final furlong.
“He finished in the middle of the group, and I was looking around, and all these guys were in hats and tails, and the ladies were just — you know, they swore they were going to the Queen’s party and not the horse races — and I thought I was in the wrong place,” Ward recalls in a video interview from England June 10.” I thought, “What am I getting here? I’m at the deep end of the pool. And you know, I needed to be on the first step in the shallows.”
No doubt in himself didn’t have long to stay. Less than two and a half hours later, his apprentice, Ray Sainz and Mitch Dutko hit the tiger , who continued to neck in Windsor Castle Stakes under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. It was the beginning of Ward’s breakthrough success at Ascot.
“It was kind of unrealistic,” Ward recalls. “I didn’t really realize I wanted (to win) a big meeting like this.” “I thank God I won, then the next day, jealous again She won the Queen Mary (G2) by multiple lengths. It was like, wow! that is great; This is really something. I’ve been very fortunate to accomplish something like this, and it just opened – it opened a lot of doors for me. “
Even the Cannonball nearly found the mark when returning it four days later after his first attempt in 2009, finishing second in the Golden Jubilee Stakes (G1).
Since Strike the Tiger’s first win in 2009, Ward has gone on to rack up Royal Ascot’s winning streak, with a total of 11 wins, with most of his wins with two-year-olds.
His success at Royal Ascot, unprecedented for an American coach, made Ward a semi-popular American in England, where racing remains one of the most popular sports. Ward recalls being introduced to him by a taxi driver after he was asked to go to Ascot.
He said, “The man is turning around.” Oh! Wesley, who do you love today? “Everyone is betting. the whole country.”
Campanile wins the 2020 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot
Last year, Ward once again captured Queen Mary with Stonestreet Stables’ Campanile In a show that still leaves the coach amazed, knowing she won the first race in it Gulfstream Park Just three weeks ago. The additional travel was a challenge, as the skilled needed to travel from Florida to Amsterdam before moving to England. (Two months later, Ward’s runner became one of France’s first group winners.)
Campanile, who won before a fanless runway last year amid COVID-19, giving Ward his fourth win at Queen Mary, is back again. He also returned to Site Ward, who needed to stay in America last year due to the pandemic. Travel to England on 5 June.
Campanile after winning the 2020 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot
Campanile has yet to overtake fourth in the Breeders’ Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) Cup, her first loss in four games, and she faces three males and females in the Commonwealth Cup for Six Furlongs (G1) June 18. daughter Kodiak Scratched from TVG Limestone Turf Sprint on April 9th at kenland Because of what Ward described as bruising in the heel.
“It took a while to show up, so she doesn’t get a prep race, but she did get a few breezes, really fast and ready to go,” Ward said. “It’s now my favorite in the race on Friday (next).”
British bookmakers have a spread of 7-2 and 5-1 in early betting.
Among Ward’s other Royal Ascot starters, Richard Raven veteran (June 15 King’s Stand), Gregory Kaufman coffeemaker (June 15 Coventry Stakes, G2), Stonestreet Stables’ Twilight Glitter (June 16, Queen Mary) and Ruthen (Windsor Castle June 16), Hat Creek Racing and Cheyenne Stable’s golden bell (Windsor Castle or June 18 Albany Stakes, G3), Andrew Farm, for People Racing Stable, and Windmill Manor Farm’s Lucci (June 17 Norfolk, G2), Mark Detthamble nakatomi (Norfolk).
TVG will broadcast each race from the Royal Ascot meeting, and its coverage begins at 9 a.m. ET. June 15. The encounter will feature four Breeders Cup “Win and You In” challenge races, one of which is Norfolk.
“On the closing day (next) Friday, I’m going to have the Campanile, sort of sent me, hopefully a good week,” Ward said. “All the horses are doing well. The weather is nice, a little rain today, Wednesday and Thursday. So you know that always plays a part in that, but we’ll see.”
Ward, 53, is enjoying this year’s preliminaries, joined by his two sons, Riley and Jack. Velazquez is heading back there from the US to ride several trainer horses at Ascot.
“We’ll try to get America at least a winner or two home,” Ward said. “That would be great.”