Wesley Ward
Trainer Bios

Wesley Ward

Born: March 3, 1968 in Selah, Washington

Record at Keeneland

Total Wins: 227

Stakes Wins: 25

Career Firsts

First Grade 1 Win: 2013 Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville in France with No Nay Never

First Stakes Win: 1994 Will Rogers (G3) at Hollywood Park with Unfinished Symph

First Graded Stakes Win: 1994 Will Rogers (G3) at Hollywood Park with Unfinished Symph

First Career Win: Jan. 6, 1991, at Yakima Meadows with Mariani Red

Starters in the Toyota Blue Grass


Year

Horse

Finish

2014

Pablo Del Monte

3rd

2013

Undrafted

13th

2012

Politicallycorrect

12th

2010

Pleasant Prince

7th

At Keeneland


Eight titles as leading trainer: 2022 Spring, 2021 Spring, 2020 Summer (tie with Ian Wilkes), 2019 Spring, 2018 Spring (tie with Brad Cox), 2017 Fall, 2012 Spring and Fall.

13 wins during 2022 Spring Meet included three stakes wins, including Golden Pal's win in the Shakertown (G2).

20 wins during 2021 Spring Meet include four stakes wins, led by Kimari's win in the Madison (G1). During the 2021 Fall Meet, his stakes winners included Golden Pal, who won the Woodord (G2) Presented by TVG and returned to win the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Del Mar.

Won a Spring Meet record four races on a single card on April 23, 2021, to equal mark set by Bill Mott on April 9, 1995; Todd Pletcher on April 19, 2008; and Kiaran McLaughlin on April 15, 2017.)

Won first Keeneland race during the 2007 Spring Meet.

Saddled One Hot Wish to set a 4 1/2-furlong world record of :48.87 at Keeneland on April 12, 2007. She is the dam of Pablo Del Monte, a son of Giant’s Causeway who is a two-time winner at Keeneland.

First Keeneland stakes win was the 2011 Giant’s Causeway (L) with Holiday for Kitten.

Sent out his champion Judy the Beauty to win the 2013 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) and 2014 Madison (G1).

On April 21, 2016, sent out Lady Aurelia to win her career debut. Lady Aurelia went on to capture the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot and the Darley Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville. 

 

Career


Training operation is based at Keeneland year-round. 

Owns Ward Ranch near Ocala, Florida, where he begins training his young horses.

Breeders' Cup wins (6): 2014 Filly and Mare Sprint with Judy the Beauty and Juvenile Turf with Hootenanny; 2019 Juvenile Turf Sprint with Four Wheel Drive; 2020 Juvenile Turf Sprint with Golden Pal; 2021 Turf Sprint with Golden Pal and Juvenile Turf Sprint with Twilight Gleaming (IRE).

Judy the Beauty was named champion female sprinter of 2014.

Royal Ascot wins (12): Became the first American trainer to saddle a winner at Royal Ascot in 2009 when Strike the Tiger won the Windsor Castle at odds of 33-1. The next day, he sent out Jealous Again to win the Queen Mary (G2). 

Other wins: 2013 Norfolk (G2) with No Nay Never; 2014 Windsor Castle with Hootenanny; 2015 Diamond Jubilee (G1) with Undrafted and Queen Mary (G2) with Acapulco; 2016 Queen Mary (G2) with Lady Aurelia; 2017 King's Stand (G1) with Lady Aurelia and Sandringham (L) with Con Te Partiro; 2018 Norfolk (G2) with Shang Shang Shang; 2020 Queen Mary with Campanelle (IRE); 2021 Commonwealth Cup (G1) with Campanelle.

At 2, No Nay Never, Lady Aurelia and Campanelle (IRE) followed their Royal Ascot wins with victories in the Prix Morny (G1) in Deauville in France. 

Lady Aurelia was named Europe’s champion 2-year-old filly of 2016 and received a Cartier Racing Award as 2-year-old filly of the year. At Keeneland for much of the season, she is the first horse trained in the U.S. to win a Cartier award, which honors outstanding horses in Europe.

Ward recorded his 2,000th North American win May 6, 2021, at Churchill Downs when Gold for Kitten won the sixth race. Thanks to his international success, especially at Royal Ascot, Ward has several more career victories to his credit.

His North American career earnings near $80 million with 2,116 wins through May 26, 2022.

Click here for his Equibase record.

Background


Wesley was born into a racing family. His father, Dennis, is a former jockey who is now a trainer and occasionally saddles horses for his son. His grandfather, Jim Dailey, was a steeplechase rider and later a popular outrider in New York for 29 years.

Wesley began riding at age 12, competing at fairs in Washington, Alberta, British Columbia and Montana. On the day he turned 16, the junior in high school began riding at Aqueduct with Lenny Goodman as his agent. Goodman, a friend of Jim Dailey’s, previously handled the books of Steve Cauthen and Declan Murphy. Though he didn’t win any races that day, Wesley won five in the next three days.

Recipient of the 1984 Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice, Wesley later rode in Italy, Singapore and Malaysia. He retired in 1989, tired of battling weight. He began training in 1991.

He maintains a year-round base at Keeneland, where he has tremendous success with his 2-year-old first-time starters during the Spring Meets.