Richard Ravin’s Maven, a Group 3 winner in France in 2019 who captured his 2021 debut in April at Keeneland, joined a group of 2-year-olds who turned in half-mile works on the firm Keeneland turf course Friday for trainer Wesley Ward in preparation for possible trips to England to compete at Royal Ascot in June. Since 2009, when he became the first American trainer to win a race at Royal Ascot, Ward has 11 victories at the prestigious meet.
The Royal Ascot meet will be held June 15-19.
“We had some really nice works,” Ward said about today’s performances. “(The Keeneland turf course) is a true grass course. It’s similar to the courses in England.”
Keeneland clockers caught Maven, working in company with Madison (G1) winner Kimari, in :47.80. (Click here for a video of the work.) A 4-year-old gelding by American Pharoah, Maven is intended for the 5-furlong King’s Stand (G1) on June 15 at Royal Ascot, while Kimari is being pointed to Saratoga for her next start in the July 28 Honorable Miss (G2).
Ward’s juvenile turf workers all won their career debuts in April:
· Marc Detampel’s Nakatomi (June 17 Norfolk-G2) was clocked in :50.40 in company with Hat Creek Racing and Cheyenne Stable’s Tea Olive (:52) (Click here for a video of the work.)
· Two horses owned by Stonestreet Stable worked in company – Ruthin (GB) (June 16 Queen Mary-G2) in :48.60 and Napa Spirit (IRE) (Norfolk) in :48.80. (Click here for a video of the work.)
· Hat Creek Racing and Cheyenne Stable’s Golden Bell (June 18 Albany-G3) was timed in :48.20 in company with her faster workmate, Gregory Kaufman’s Kaufymaker (:47.80). (Click here for a video of the work.)
Ward said Kaufymaker earned consideration with today’s work to compete at Royal Ascot.
Set to return to Royal Ascot for Ward is Stonestreet’s 3-year-old filly Campanelle (IRE), who last year captured the Queen Mary before taking the Darley Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville in France. Campanelle is based at Keeneland but has been working Sundays on the turf course at Churchill Downs in a schedule based on the availability of the Keeneland course.
Ward has Campanelle scheduled to make her 2021 debut in the June 18 Commonwealth Cup (G1) at 6 furlongs against males. With a win at Royal Ascot two years in a row, Campanelle would equal the feat of Stonestreet’s Lady Aurelia, who Ward trained to win the 2016 Queen Mary and 2017 King’s Stand.
The trainer’s other possible 2-year-old starters at Royal Ascot this year include Peter Leidel’s Overbore (June 15 Coventry-G2); Andrew Farm, For the People Racing Stable and Windmill Manor Farm’s Lucci (Norfolk) and Stonestreet’s Twilight Gleaming (IRE) (June 16 Windsor Castle-L).
Ward said the horses would depart June 1 on a flight from Indianapolis and be based at the English National Stud. He plans to fly to England following Bound for Nowhere’s start in the Jackpot Jaipur (G1) on June 5 at Belmont Park and oversee the final works by his contingent before their Royal Ascot races.
“I’m getting excited,” he said.
Another Royal Ascot hopeful stabled at Keeneland is DARRS Inc.’s Extravagant Kid, who won the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint (G1) Sponsored by Azizi Developments during the March 27 Dubai World Cup card. Trained by Brendan Walsh, Extravagant Kid is being considered for two races at the meet: the 5-furlong King’s Stand (G1) on June 15 and the 6-furlong Diamond Jubilee (G1) on June 19.
Extravagant Kid has recorded half-mile breezes at Keeneland on dirt on May 4 (:50.20) and May 13 (:48.20). Walsh said he is scheduled to work again Saturday at 7:30 a.m.
“Flying out on the first or second (of June),” Walsh said via text about travel plans for Extravagant Kid. “I’m not sure if I’m going yet. Depends on the quarantine restrictions.”