Ward Works Ascot-Bound Squad at Keeneland

American Rascal | Coady

Looking to build on his 12 victories at Royal Ascot, trainer Wesley Ward sent out several horses with intended engagements at the prestigious meeting–all campaigned by Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables–for Friday morning breezes over the Keeneland turf course.

Making his first appearance on the grass was American Rascal (Curlin), the first foal out of multiple Royal Ascot winner and Cartier Award-winning 2-year-old filly of 2016 Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy), who was accorded 'TDN Rising Star' status for his towering 10 1/4-length victory in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden over the Keeneland main track Apr. 20. Ward pronounced himself pleased with the half-mile move from American Rascal (:50 flat), whose workmate Fandom (GB) (Showcasing) went the same distance in :49 3/5. The latter won his maiden on his Apr. 27 bow by 6 3/4 lengths.



“Julio [Garcia] was on him,” Ward said about American Rascal. “I wanted him to work nice and relaxed. Today was an ultra-impressive workout. To look at this horse, he's all speed. He looks like a running back: muscles on muscles, very compact. Just excited to see the next couple of works here. As long as all goes well, we're heading to the [June 22 G2] Norfolk [S.] and we're really excited about it.”

Fandom's Royal Ascot target has yet to be determined.

'TDN Rising Stars' Twilight Gleaming (Ire) (National Defense {GB}) and Love Reigns (Ire) (U S Navy Flag), each exiting Keeneland stakes victories and each set to make a second Royal Ascot appearance, breezed four furlongs in company in :50.40. Twilight Gleaming, second in the 2021 G2 Queen Mary S., won the Giant's Causeway S. in April and runs in the June 20 G1 King's Stand S., while Love Reigns was a solid fourth in last year's Queen Mary. This year's FanDuel Limestone S. winner is possible for the age-restricted G1 Commonwealth Cup June 23.

“Those were two nice works as well,” Ward said. “Julio [on Twilight Gleaming] broke off quite a bit behind Love Reigns and made up the ground down the lane, just comfortably. They finished together at the wire.”



Ward is also likely to be represented by Three Chimneys Farm's Bundchen (Gun Runner), who missed by a nose on Keeneland unveiling Apr. 28 and who worked in the company of the GI Jaipur S.-bound Arrest Me Red (Pioneerof the Nile). Candymaker (Twirling Candy), a debut winner sprinting on turf at Horseshoe Indianapolis May 22, rounds out the Ward team.



Turf works at Keeneland are scheduled for the next two Fridays. Ward said his Royal Ascot squad would depart Indianapolis June 14 on a direct flight to London Stansted Airport. They will spend several days at nearby Chelmsford Racecourse before moving to Ascot.

Ward said Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Joel Rosario will have Royal Ascot mounts on the horses they have been riding.

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