Deflation. It was not the start to Royal Ascot we had conjured up. Derby winner Animal Kingdom pulling hard and flattening out, we didn’t even get a chance to yell.
That’s really all you ask for in this game – if you bet them, own them, train them, simply cheer for them – just a moment when it’s in the balance. Animal Kingdom’s race was over early. Breaking in the clear with a long straightaway in front of him, he seemed to understand and accept it for a moment, then John Velazquez’s hands came up, his shoulders went back and his heels went down – that was it. You could go flip your omelet and get back to real life.
Dawn Approach won a thriller and American stallion War Front produced two big wins on the day. Still four days to go of the Royal Ascot extravaganza. Here’s your 10 to Follow – remember, from an American perch – for Day 2. Again, in race order, not enormity order.
The Brothers War. First Race. Jersey Stakes. Another Joe Allen-bred son of War Front flies the international flag. Indeed the flag isn’t exactly stars and stripes. Born in America, campaigned in France and now on the road in Britain, the 3-year-old colt has never finished off the board in seven career starts but faces a stern test from the likes of undefeated Mutin and Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Gale Force Ten.
Chigun. Second Race. Duke Of Cambridge Stakes. Four-time winner represents Lady Cecil, the widow of Royal Ascot’s leading trainer, Sir Henry Cecil. Lady Cecil has already sent out five winners and there would be nothing more poignant than her adding the Cecil ledger at Royal Ascot. Sir Henry engineered 75 wins, including Frankel’s tour de force last year. A moment of silence Tuesday, a race run his honor Friday (Lady Cecil runs Disclaimer in it) and a week of lumps in throats as racing goes on without the legend.
Camelot. Third Race. Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Irish-based six-time winner nearly became the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 1970 but failed in the St. Leger last year. Son of Montjeu is one for two this year, after failing as the favorite in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh May 26.
Red Cadeaux. Third Race. Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Think Animal Kingdom has been on a world tour? Gallant veteran finished second to Animal Kingdom in Dubai then went to Japan and Singapore. In his six most recent starts, all Group I stakes, the $5.7 million earner has competed in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Dubai, Japan again and Singapore. Now, that’s spanning the globe.
The Fugue. Third Race. Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Perhaps you lost your money on the daughter of Dansili when she finished a hard-road third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita last fall. Trainer John Gosden unveils her for the first time since that excursion, taking on the boys, in a Group I, going a mile and a quarter. You must be brave in this game.
Elusive Time. Fourth Race. Royal Hunt Cup. I love the Breeders’ Cup World Championships but, really, Royal Ascot is about the world. Irish-bred 5-year-old rides a four-race win streak – in Denmark and Sweden. Winner of 13 career races, he’s won the Sea Side Navigation Derby Sprint, the Subaru Derby and the Norks Riksotos Rekrutteringslop (go ahead, spell check it). Horse racing is indeed a worldwide sport.
Stirring Ballad. Fourth Race. Royal Hunt Cup. Longtime American owner/breeder George Strawbridge is represented by the 4-year-old filly who goes for her fifth career win. Another filly taking on the boys. Look for white with a green hoop silks, instead of green and white halves seen in America.
Sweet Emma Rose. Fifth Race. Queen Mary Stakes. Wesley Ward tries again with this daughter of City Zip. Ward and jockey Joel Rosario came up empty Tuesday. Sweet Emma Rose won her debut by 9 lengths but failed as the favorite in the Rollicking Stakes at Pimlico.
Waterway Run. Sixth Race. Sandringham Handicap. Three-year-old daughter of Arch finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall for co-owner Martin Schwartz. She returned to England where she’s finished off the board in her two starts this year.
Fleeting Smile. Sixth Race. Sandringham Handicap. Talk about American pedigree, daughter of Distorted Humor and multiple Grade I stakes winner Fleet Indian. Bred by Summer Wind Farm, she’s won two of six starts, including her most recent start at Salisbury. Shadwell purchased her for $500,000 at Keeneland September 2011.