Keeneland-based trainer Wesley Ward won 11 races during Keeneland’s Spring Meet to lead all trainers. Last week, he sent out six of those winners, including European champion Lady Aurelia, for half-mile works over the firm turf course here in preparation for races at Royal Ascot in England next month.
Lady Aurelia, owned by Stonestreet Stables, George Bolton and Peter Leidel, won the 2016 Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot in June, Darley Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville in France in August and was third in the Connolly’s Red Mills Cheveley Park (G1) at Newmarket in September. She opened her 2017 campaign with a victory against older rivals in the April 15 Giant’s Causeway (L) on the turf at Keeneland and is scheduled to take on older rivals again in the King’s Stand (G1) at Royal Ascot on June 20.
Returning to the work tab for the first time since she won the Giant’s Causeway, Lady Aurelia covered a half-mile in 49.40 with Julio Garcia aboard.
“Lady Aurelia worked fantastic,” Ward said about the 3-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy. “I warned Julio with his life that I did not want to go fast. He did a great job today. We broke her off 15 lengths or so behind the 2-year-olds (Fairyland and Happy Like a Fool, who worked together). For her first work back I wanted her to go as slow as she could possibly go.”
Fairyland (pointed at the June 23 Albany-G3) and Happy Like a Fool (June 21 Queen Mary-G2) were timed in 48.40.
Working on his own in :47.20 was Wes Welker and Elizabeth Kumin’s Undrafted, who is about to make his fourth trip to England. Fourth in the 2014 Darley July Cup (G1) at Newmarket, he won Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee (G1) in 2015 and was sixth in the race last year. The Purim gelding, pointed at the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 24, began his 7-year-old campaign with a win in an April 21 allowance race over the Keeneland turf.
Undrafted was several lengths behind the pair of Bound for Nowhere (June 23 Commonwealth Cup-G1) and Nootka Sound (June 20 Windsor Castle-L), both timed in :48.
A filly by Scat Daddy owned by Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith and John Magnier, Fairyland started her career with a 3¼-length win here on dirt on April 7.
Ward bred and owns Happy Like a Fool, a colt by Distorted Humor who scored a 4-length win on dirt on April 9 at Keeneland, and owns Bound for Nowhere, a 3-year-old son of The Factor who has wins over the all-weather at Turfway and on the Keeneland turf in two starts this year.
Hat Creek Racing owns Nootka Sound, a 2-year-old Lonhro (AUS) filly who won her debut by
5 lengths on April 27 on dirt at Keeneland.
Ward said the six horses would turn in their next works next week.
All but Ward’s homebred Happy Like a Fool are graduates of Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale.