Wesley Ward Back at Keeneland after Royal Ascot Success

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LEXINGTON, KY (June 26, 2017) – Trainer Wesley Ward was at his Keeneland base Monday morning, overseeing his string that soon will include two recent stakes winners at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet in England: King’s Stand (G1) winner Lady Aurelia and Sandringham (L) winner Con Te Partiro. The 3-year-old fillies, both by Scat Daddy, are scheduled to arrive in Chicago early Monday afternoon after their flight and complete a 42-hour quarantine at Arlington Park before returning to Keeneland.

On June 20, Royal Ascot’s opening day, Lady Aurelia and jockey John Velazquez scored a 3-length win against 16 older male and female rivals in the 5-furlong King’s Stand. The victory marked Lady Aurelia’s second triumph at Royal Ascot, where last year she won the Queen Mary (G2) by 7 lengths.

Lady Aurelia, who also won the Darley Prix Morny (G1) last year and was Europe’s champion 2-year-old filly, has won five of six races and has earned $718,617 for her owners, breeder Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet and partners George Bolton and Peter Leidel. Ward is now pointing her to the 5-furlong Coolmore Nunthorpe (G1) on Aug. 25 at York in England with the 5-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) on Nov. 4 at Del Mar a long-range target.

“(Lady Aurelia) is a once-in-a-lifetime horse, and she’s very, very special,” said Ward, who sent out the filly to win her career debut at Keeneland in April 2016 and take the Giant’s Causeway (L) here this April. “I’m so excited to be blessed to train a filly like that and have the confidence of the owners to give me a filly like her ... words can’t describe it, that’s for sure.”

The day after Lady Aurelia’s win, Hat Creek Racing’s stakes winner Con Te Partiro and jockey Jamie Spencer won the 1-mile Sandringham by 1¼ lengths as a 20-1 longshot. Asked about her next race, Ward said, “I really want to win a graded race with her.” He is considering the 1-mile San Clemente (G2) on July 23 at Del Mar or the 1 1/8-mile Pucker Up (G3) on Aug. 12, Arlington Million Day at Arlington.

“It all depends on how she comes back,” he said. “We’ll have to sit down with Gatewood Bell (of Hat Creek) and see what he’s thinking.”

Once his Royal Ascot winners are back at Keeneland, Ward said they would have a couple of weeks of “nice and easies” then “a couple weeks of galloping, then right back working.”

Ward, now the winner of nine Royal Ascot races since 2009, this year sent out a total of 10 horses there, including Queen Mary (G2) runner-up Happy Like a Fool. He is pleased with the results.

“To have two of the 10 (win) …” Ward began. “When you’re getting back and settling in, you realize it’s a great accomplishment. It’s a lifelong accomplishment that you’ll cherish forever.”

Both Lady Aurelia and Con Te Partiro are graduates of Keeneland’s 2015 September Yearling Sale.

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