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 for trainer Todd Pletcher, drew saddle cloth one (post 16) and will be ridden by John Velazquez, who picked up the mount after Frankie Dettori announced he had not suitably recovered from injury and will miss all of Royal Ascot. Also in the field is U.S.-based Miss Temple City on her third trip to Royal Ascot; she will carry saddle cloth 15 and race from post four 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 saddle cloth three (post six) under Ryan Moore for Aidan O'Brien.
Wesley Ward runner Arawak (saddle cloth two) 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 14 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 (with saddle cloth 18) under John Velazquez, hoping to build on her successful start to the 2017 season at Keeneland in the Giant's Causeway.
Kentucky Derby competitor Thunder Snow (saddle cloth eight) 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 two under Christophe Soumillon for Saeed bin Suroor. Churchill (saddle cloth two, post five) is also in the St. James field, as is 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Lancaster Bomber, who will break from post one (saddle cloth 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 (saddle cloth 22) and Nootka Sound (saddle cloth 24), both fillies who won on their debuts, will take on males for the first time in this race, breaking from posts two and 11, respectively, under John Velazquez and Edgar Prado.
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 (saddle cloth eight) 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 (saddle cloth two) will go from post six under Ryan Moore for Aidan O'Brien, and Queen's Trust saddle cloth nine) from post one under Olivier Peslier for Sir Michael Stoute. Also, Ulysses (saddle cloth seven), fourth in the BC Turf last year, will break from post seven under Jim Crowley 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 (saddle cloth three), winner of a juvenile stake at Saratoga last year, will break from post 11 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 (saddle cloth nine) set to leave from post 10 under John Velazquez; 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 five and break from post three 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, the opening race 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. 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.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Program/saddle cloth numbers and post position assignments are different. The original version of this article listed program numbers as post positions.
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