Royal Ascot. Second Day. Wednesday. The hits just keep on coming after a captivating day to open the five-day festival.
Toronado won his sixth race, staving off a game Verrazano, who flew the U.S. flag with pride, beaten a half-length in the Group 1 turf mile. Amazing to think you can find a Queen Anne Stakes runner-up on New Year’s Day at Gulfstream Park. As the U.S. racing/breeding program finds itself in the firing line from assertions and aspersions of over-medication and weakening the breed, a son of More Than Ready who spent his life on the dirt and on Lasix, transforms his prowess to a straight turf mile at Royal Ascot, missing a Group 1 win by less than a length.
Veteran Sole Power ignited to win the King’s Stand. Kingman proved he is the king inhaling Night of Thunder to win the St. James’s Palace. And Wesley Ward continued his Ascot raid winning with Windsor Castle with Hootenanny.
As for today…
First Race. Jersey Stakes. 9:30. Group 3 opens the card. Four American-breds – Sudirman, Great White Eagle, Giovanni Boldini and Michaelmas – among the 23 runners. Giovanni Boldini finished second behind Outstrip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year. Can’t fault Coolmore’s travel agent, son of War Front has lost four in a row – in America, Dubai, France and Ireland. Have horse. Will travel.
Second Race. Queen Mary Stakes. 10:05. Wesley Ward squares up and aims again, this time sending out Spanish Pipedream in the Queen Mary, Group 2 stakes going 5 furlongs. The daughter of Scat Daddy and the Doc’s Leader mare Doc’s Leading Lady breaks from the 13 hole for Hat Creek Racing and Derby/Preakness-winning jockey Victor Espinoza. A winner of her debut at Keeneland, she’s been aimed at this ever since.
Third Race. Prince of Wales’s Stakes. 10:45. Print the Breeders’ Cup billboard. Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician, Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Dank, Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up The Fugue clash in the 10-furlong Group 1 stakes. Oh, ah, yeah, and the indomitable Treve, 5-for-6 in her career, she dominated the Prix de l’arc de Triomphe last year. She runs like she likes it. Sit down, hold all calls, hand the kid a popsicle, this is the race of the day.
Fourth Race. Duke of Cambridge Stakes. 11:25. The return of the great Sky Lantern. The light-moving gray filly exploded in the Coronation Stakes last year at Royal Ascot. She moves like a dancer, closes like a curtain.
Fifth Race. Royal Hunt Cup. 12:00. Belgian Bill, upset winner of last year’s edition, returns to defend his crown for George Baker. Winless since, the 6-year-old carries five pounds more than he did last year when upsetting the 1-mile stakes at 33-1. Sea Shanty represents The Queen. Want full fields? 31 entered, 28 runs, scratch Farraaj, Stirring Ballad and Sweet Lightning.
Sixth Race. Sandringham Handicap. 12:35. Twenty-five fillies converge for the 1-mile listed handicap. Good luck in the finale.