Trainer Wesley Ward continued preparations for his Royal Ascot hopefuls at Keeneland on Saturday, led by Stonestreet Stables and Peter Leidel’s European champion Lady Aurelia, who worked 5 furlongs over the yielding turf course in 1:03.40.
The turf works were delayed a day due to heavy rain in the Lexington area on Friday.
A 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy, Lady Aurelia is to defend her title in the 5-furlong King’s Stand (G1) on Royal Ascot’s June 10 opening day. With rider Julio Garcia aboard, she covered the distance in :13.60, :26.20, :39, :51.60 and 1:03.40.
“She did great today, she really did,” Ward said afterward. “She sat there, and just kind of cruised right off and did everything right with her ears pricking back and forth. Looked like she was very, very happy. Made me very happy.”
Lady Aurelia worked in company with Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Hemp Hemp Hurray, who also got the 5 furlongs in 1:30.40. Ward, who watched the works with Ken Ramsey, said Hemp Hemp Hurray, a 3-year-old colt by Artie Schiller, is likely to contest the Jersey (G3) on June 20.
Also working in company were Ward’s Bound for Nowhere and Vivian Day and Kate V. Rose’s Master Merion, timed in 1:01 and 1:01.20, respectively, for 5 furlongs. Winner of Keeneland’s Shakertown (G2) on April 7, Bound for Nowhere is to run in the Diamond Jubilee (G1) on June 23 at Royal Ascot. Master Merion is to go in the Royal Hunt Cup on June 20.
Ward sent a total of 11 horses in five sets for works over the Keeneland turf course Saturday, including:
Wes Welker and Monomoy Stables’ Undrafted, headed to Royal Ascot for the June 23 Wokingham, went a half-mile in :50.80;
Australian Bloodstock’s Delectation (GB), a 4-year-old filly by Delegator (GB), covered 5 furlongs in 1:01.80. Ward said Delectation is being entered in the Intercontinental (G3) at Belmont on June 7
Going a half-mile in :49.80 were Marcus Stables’ Stillwater Cove and Don Alberto Stable’s Our Passion, both 2-year-old fillies bound for Royal Ascot
A trio of juvenile fillies comprised of Reiley McDonald’s Athens Queen, Breeze Easy’s Shang Shang Shang and Hat Creek Racing’s Chelsea Cloisters worked a half mile in company. Athens Queen made up nearly three lengths to cover the distance in :50, while Shang Shang Shang and Chelsea Cloisters were clocked in :50.60. Chelsea Cloisters is scheduled to start in the Queen Mary (G2) on June 20 and Shang Shang Shang in the Norfolk (G2) on June 21, both at Royal Ascot.
Ward said he has delayed the contingent’s departure for England by a week. Originally scheduled to leave Monday for Indianapolis and then a flight to England, the horses instead will go out on the same flight the following week. He indicated they will have their final works in preparation for Royal Ascot at Keeneland late next week.
“I was going to ship Monday and work at Newbury, but they have a race meet going on,” he said. “Keeneland was gracious enough to let us (work on the turf) the following week. My horses love it here.”