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Lady Aurelia Shines In Queen Mary Stakes

Lady Aurelia Shines In Queen Mary Stakes

15.06.2016, by Jim
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In the United States, the horse racing scene is in its annual mid-summer lull, at least as far as casual fans and mainstream sports coverage is concerned. Serious fans have plenty to look forward to including the June 22 Grade 1 $500,000 Santa Anita Gold Cup that will give the winner a ‘free pass’ into the Breeders’ Cup field. It’s completely different in England where this week features the biggest ‘flats’ event of the year.

More specifically, the Royal Ascot is underway. Amid the general public there’s significant interest in the Grand National steeplechase race held annually in April. It’s a big race, but it can’t compare to the Royal Ascot. In fact, this year’s marketing slogan for the event is ‘Like Nowhere Else’ and that’s not an overstatement. It attracts 300,000 spectators annually with millions more watching on television. It combines a week of racing including some major Group stakes races (the European equivalent to US Graded stakes events) and–like the big American Triple Crown races–a good deal of partying and other festivities.

The race has been run since 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne. To this day, the Royal Family includes every day’s card and they don’t just roll up in a Range Rover–they arrive in a horse drawn carriage along with a big procession. The entire experience is indescribable combining drunken revelry, British nationalistic pride, social climbing and networking with some big horse races thrown in for good measure.

We’ll focus on the racing. On Wednesday, the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for two year old fillies was run over a distance of five furlongs. Think of it as a UK equivilent of the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. The race saw a big upset as A Shin Hikari–the heavy favorite–faded badly down the stretch and finished last in the six horse field. The winner was a Wesley Ward filly named Lady Aurelia. She was known to be a fast horse but there was some concern that the turf at Ascot Racehorse might slow her down. It didn’t happen–she left the field in the dust winning by seven lengths which is remarkable in a five furlong race. Making it all the more remarkable is the fact that jockey Frankie Dettori ‘geared her down’ when it was evident the race was won.

Wesley Ward is one of Europe’s elite trainers and he won his eighth Royal Ascot race and his third Queen Mary Stakes victory.

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