Horse Racing - Royal Ascot 2019 Betting Preview

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Few sporting events in the world rival the pageantry of Royal Ascot and its exclusive 5-day race meet that started on Tuesday.  Each day gets underway at 9 a.m. Eastern time with her majesty Queen Elizabeth making a grand and splendid entrance on horsedrawn carriage.

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The sheer spectacle of the races has attracted a number of American outfits and trainers to England in recent years.  NBCSN provides wall-to-wall coverage beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Tuesday-Friday with NBC taking over Saturday’s coverage at 9 a.m. Eastern.  Brittany Eurton, Nick Luck and Eddie Olczyk will be on hand to describe all the action.

Four Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races will be held during the Royal Ascot meet: The Queen Anne Stakes (June 18, Breeders’ Cup Mile); the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (June 19, Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf); the Norfolk Stakes (June 20, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint); and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (June 22, Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint).

Ward Leads the Pack

American conditioner Wesley Ward has been a trailblazer of sorts and once again has a strong contingent of runners poised to find the winner’s circle.  In addition to Ward, who has been an Ascot regular for the past decade a number of American outfits have made the trip in 2019.

Ward, who became the first United States trainer to saddle a winner at Royal Ascot when two of his juveniles won races there in 2009.  In addition to No Nay Never last year, he also won the Queen Mary Stakes and Windsor Castle Stakes in 2009 and will be looking to pick the right races for his horses to try and add to those famous victories.

"We're going to start off the week with a beautiful colt called Hootenanny, who will run in The Windsor Castle Stakes. He won a maiden race at Keeneland with a really excellent performance and then I ran him on the dirt at Pimlico," Ward told drf.com.  "I knew he'd be up against it, but I decided to let him run to see if he could handle it. He didn't want any part of it at all. He came out of the race in fantastic shape, though, and his breeze the other morning was outstanding. I think he will be running in one of the weaker two-year-old races, being a Listed race, so he can get the week off to a good start and leave everybody smiling."

Ward is particularly keen on the chances of two of the fillies, saying: “Spanish Pipedream won a maiden at Keeneland and will go for The Queen Mary. I think she's a very talented filly. Sunset Glow won a really beautiful race at Belmont on Friday, she's a really hardy filly and she will go for The Albany Stakes. I don't think the trip will take any toll on her. In fact, she may even improve."

The final filly To Be Determined is likely to take on the colts in The Norfolk Stakes (2.30 Thursday), while the unraced Cordero is likely to run in The Chesham Stakes as Ward feels that “Going 1400 metres at Ascot will be perfect for him,” Ward said. “He is part-owned by Miami Heat basketball player Rashard Lewis and Coolmore also own half.”

Espinoza Back in the Mix

Leading jockey Victor Espinoza takes five of the six rides on all the Wesley Ward runners, with either Ryan Moore or Kieron Fallon lined up to take the ride on whichever Espinoza doesn’t ride in The Chesham.

Trainer Kenny McPeek has already sent over a couple of Royal Ascot runners in the past, including Noble’s Promise who came 5th in the 2010 St James’s Palace Stakes. This year he brings over Rosalind, a 3 year-old filly, who has an entry in The Coronation Stakes.

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