The Royal Ascot meeting kicks off Tuesday, June 20, and a number of U.S. runners will be putting in bids to repeat the success of Tepin in last year’s Queen Anne Stakes. For the first time, NBC Sports will be broadcasting live coverage of the full five-day meeting, which runs through Saturday, June 24, running daily from 8:00 a.m. EDT through 1:30 p.m. EDT.
The very first race on the card on Tuesday is the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, a straight, one-mile turf contest (post time 9:30 a.m.). WinStar Farm’s American Patriot, winner of the G1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in April, drew post one under Frankie Dettori for trainer Todd Pletcher. Also in the field is U.S.-based Miss Temple City on her third trip to Royal Ascot; she drew post 15 under Edgar Prado for trainer Graham Motion. Though it will be Miss Temple City’s first start of 2017, the mare bested males in both the Maker’s 46 Mile and the Shadwell Turf Mile during the 2016 Keeneland season. Another name U.S. fans may recognize is that of Deauville, winner of the 2016 Belmont Derby Invitational and a close third against older horses in the G1 Arlington Million; he drew post three under Ryan Moore for Aidan O’Brien.
Wesley Ward runner Arawak shows up in race two on Tuesday’s card, the Group 2 Coventry Stakes for 2-year-olds over six furlongs (post time 10:05 a.m.). Breaking from post two under John Velazquez, the son of Uncle Mo broke his maiden over seven furlongs last out on the dirt.
Third on Tuesday’s card is the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes, a five-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up (post time 10:40 a.m.), in which last year’s Ward-trained juvenile filly champion in Europe returns to Ascot. Lady Aurelia will break from post 18 under Frankie Dettori, hoping to build on her successful start to the 2017 season at Keeneland in the Giant’s Causeway.
Kentucky Derby competitor Thunder Snow will take on a tough field in Tuesday’s fourth race, the Group 1 St. James’s Palace for 3-year-old colts over one mile (post time 11:20 a.m.). He has run once since the strange bucking reaction he had on Derby day, finishing second to Churchill in the Irish 2000 Guineas, and will break from post eight under Christophe Soumillon for Saeed bin Suroor. Churchill is also in the St. James field, as is 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Lancaster Bomber, who will break from post four under Donnacha O’Brien for Aidan O’Brien.
The sixth and final race on Tuesday’s card is the listed Windsor Castle Stakes, for 2-year-olds over five furlongs (post time 12:35 p.m.), in which Ward will deploy a pair of juveniles. Elizabeth Darcy and Nootka Sound, both fillies who won on their debuts, will take on males for the first time in this race, breaking from posts 22 and 24, respectively, under John Velazquez and Frankie Dettori.
Wednesday’s card sees its first U.S. entrant in the second race of the day, the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over five furlongs (post time 10:05 a.m.). Happy Like A Fool will leave from post eight under Ryan Moore for Wesley Ward, hoping to build on the success he found first out at Keeneland in April.
Breeders’ Cup winners Highland Reel and Queen’s Trust are both entered in the fourth race on the card, the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes over 1 1/4 miles (post time 11:20 a.m.). Highland Reel will go from post two under Ryan Moore for Aidan O’Brien, and Queen’s Trust from post nine under Olivier Peslier for Sir Michael Stoute. Also, Ulysses, fourth in the BC Turf last year, will break from post seven under Frankie Dettori for Stoute.
The sixth race is the listed Sandringham Handicap, a one-mile contest for 3-year-old fillies (post time 12:35 p.m.). Wesley Ward’s Con Te Partiro, winner of a juvenile stake at Saratoga last year, will break from post three under Jamie Spencer.
The Group 2 Norfolk Stakes begin’s Thursday’s action over five furlongs for 2-year-olds (post time 9:30 a.m.). Wesley Ward has Keeneland maiden winner McErin set to leave from post 15 under Frankie Dettori; the colt also ran third in the Kentucky Juvenile during Derby week at Churchill.
The Group 1 Gold Cup is a 2 1/2-mile marathon for 4-year-olds and up, the fourth race on the card (post time 11:20 a.m.). 8-year-old Sheikhzayedroad, a Grade 1 winner at Woodbine based in England, will be number seven in this field under Martin Harley for David Simcock.
Wesley Ward has a pair of 2-year-old fillies aiming at Friday’s Group 2 Albany Stakes, over six furlongs for 2-year-old fillies (post time 9:30 a.m.). Maiden winner Fairyland and Belmont winner Princess Peggy are both pointed at this race.
The third race, Group 1 Commonwealth Cup (post time 10:40 a.m.) over six furlongs for 3-year-olds, is expected to have Ward trainee Bound for Nowhere under Frankie Dettori. The colt won his career debut in January and an allowance at Keeneland by 4 1/2 lengths on the turf.
Mark Casse trainee La Coronel will take a shot at the fourth race, the Group 1 Coronation Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over one mile (post time 11:20 a.m.). She has won four of her five starts on the turf, but faces tough competition here.
Long On Value, who ran a great second in Dubai’s Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in March, will appear in Saturday’s fourth race, the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee over six furlongs (post time 11:20 a.m.). Trainer Bill Mott seems to have the 6-year-old in top form as he was just beaten a nose to stick with some of the world’s top sprinters.
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