Wesley Ward Targets Breeders’ Cup Victory
Trainer Wesley Ward was excited after Stonestreet Stables and Peter Leidel’s Keeneland-based European champion Lady Aurelia turned in her final Keeneland work Saturday, a day before she leaves for Southern California and her next start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) on Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
Working to the inside of Master Merion, Lady Aurelia and rider Julio Garcia covered 5 furlongs in 1:00.80. Master Merion’s time was 1:01.40. (Click here for a video of the work.)
“That was beautiful,” Ward said. “That’s exactly what you want to see. I matched her with a good opponent today, and she kinda pulled away from him with ease. It was a work you want to see before she gets on a plane tomorrow.
“It was very nice. She settled behind him and came right up through on the inside and pricked her ears right there at the finish to where you could tell Julio had her nice and relaxed (with) speed to spare. The turbo button – he didn’t push it today. We still got it left in us.”
At Del Mar, Lady Aurelia will be with Ward assistant Blake Heap, who has accompanied the 3-year-old Scat Daddy filly on her trips to England.
“We’ll pony her a couple days just to get her settled in off this work. Just keep her happy,” Ward said about her upcoming schedule. “Then we’ll start galloping her and probably have a nice easy breeze – half-mile breeze – over the weekend.”
Lady Aurelia, who last year won her career debut at Keeneland on dirt before taking the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot and the Darley Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville, opened 2017 with a win in Keeneland’s Giant’s Causeway (L) during the Spring Meet followed by a victory in the King’s Stand (G1) at Royal Ascot in June and a narrow loss in the Coolmore Nunthorpe (G1) at York in August. Today’s work was Lady Aurelia’s fourth since her last race.
The filly leads the Ward contingent at Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup or supporting stakes. Ward said he’s leaning toward running Master Merion there in the Nov. 1 Let It Ride Stakes.
Also working 5 furlongs Saturday for Ward were Ultima D (Juvenile Fillies Turf-G1; 1:03.20) and Hemp Hemp Hurray (Juvenile Turf-G1; 1:02.80) in company with McErin (Qatar Juvenile Turf Sprint on Nov. 4 on the Breeders’ Cup undercard; 1:03.40).
Another Ward trainee heading to California is Fairyland, who also is pointed at the Qatar Juvenile Turf Sprint.
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