Keeneland-based trainer Wesley Ward on Friday sent out five hopefuls for Royal Ascot in England for 5-furlong works over a turf course labeled “good” as he prepares to build on his success at the prestigious five-day meet in June. Ward has 12 wins at Royal Ascot since 2009.
Headlining the workers was Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith and Westerberg’s millionaire and two-time Breeders’ Cup winner, Golden Pal, who was clocked in 1:02.80. (Click herefor a video of the work.) Slated for the King’s Stand (G1) on June 14, Golden Pal most recently won Keeneland’s 5-furlong Shakertown (G2) on April 9 by 4¾ lengths.
“I thought he had an unbelievable breeze today,” Ward said. “The turf was soggy, and I love to breeze on a deep, soft turf. They come in and out of the works so good. He broke off 10 lengths in front of a 2-year-old filly, Love Reigns (IRE), – she’s no match for a horse like him at this stage of her career – but she had a target. She had a great work (1:03.60) following the fastest horse in the world. He skipped over it – it was unbelievable. That’s what you want to see.”
Love Reigns, owned by Stonestreet Stables, scored a 9¾-length victory at Keeneland in her April 29 career debut at 5½ furlongs on turf. She is to race in the Queen Mary (G2) on June 15.
Stonestreet also owns Royal Ascot hopefuls Campanelle (IRE) (1:04) (Platinum Jubilee-G1 on June 18) and Ruthin (GB) (1:04.80) (Palace of Holyroodhouse on June 17). (Click here for a video of their work.) Campanelle is bidding for her third win at Royal Ascot, following triumphs in the Queen Mary in 2020 and Commonwealth Cup (G1) in 2021.
Ruthin won the TVG Limestone (L) at Keeneland on April 15.
Ward’s other Royal Ascot worker was Andrew Farm and For the People Racing Stable’s No Nay Hudson (IRE) (1:06.40) (Windsor Castle on June 15). No Nay Hudson won his career debut at Keeneland on April 28 by 4 lengths while racing 4½ furlongs on dirt.
The Royal Ascot team has two more works at Keeneland on coming Fridays, weather pending. On June 8, they have a direct flight from Indianapolis to London Stansted Airport, “and they land and have a 10-minute ride to Chelmsford Racecourse, where they’ll stay for three days until they go to Ascot,” he said.
The leading trainer during Keeneland’s 2022 Spring Meet, Ward appreciated the opportunity to work on Keeneland’s turf course.
“The key to working on the grass is for them to come in and out of the works sound,” Ward said, “And there’s no better place to do that than the Keeneland turf course. It’s awesome. I want to thank everyone involved at Keeneland for letting us breeze so we can get to Ascot 110 percent.”