Updated on 04/21/2011 6:00PM

Royal Ascot attracts at least 10 from U.S.


A record 10 American-based runners have been nominated to the Group 1 races at Royal Ascot from June 14-18, and some of the runners will have prep races as soon as Saturday.

They may not be the only U.S. starters. Trainer Wesley Ward, who became the first American-based trainer to win a Royal Ascot race with Strike the Tiger in the 2009 Windsor Castle Stakes, is preparing for another possible trip this year, by way of France. Ward said on Wednesday that he will send three juveniles from Kentucky to France this weekend for races at Chantilly and Longchamp in advance of potential starts at Royal Ascot.

Ascot officials said nominations were received from 11 countries for the Group 1 races.

There are five American nominees for the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes over a straightaway six furlongs on June 18. The potential starters include Sidney’s Candy, a five-time stakes winner who is scheduled to start in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 7; Leaving New York, who starts in Saturday’s Tiznow Stakes at Hollywood Park; Caracortado, who won the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita in January; and two stakes winners trained by Todd Pletcher – Stratford Hill, who won the Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland on April 16; and Bridgetown, who finished second in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf .

The Pletcher-trained runners are also nominated for the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot on June 14, a race that could draw Kinsale King. Trained by Carl O’Callaghan, Kinsale King was third in the 2010 King’s Stand Stakes, and is scheduled to have a prep race in the $70,000 Cool Frenchy Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 7.

The Pletcher-trained More than Real, who won the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall for owner Bobby Flay, and Kathmanblu, a four-time stakes winner and a top contender for the Kentucky Oaks for trainer Kenneth McPeek, are nominated for the Group 1 Coronation Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on June 17.

Ward has two hopes for the King’s Stand _ Great Attack, third in the Shakertown and a candidate for the Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 7, and Holiday for Kitten, who is entered in Saturday’s Giant’s Causeway Stakes at Keeneland.

Ward plans to send the Keene­land 2-year-old maiden race winners Everyday Dave and Judy the Beauty and the Keeneland runner-up Tiz Terrific to France. Ward said he is doing so after Churchill Downs scrapped a likely domestic prep, the Three Chimneys Juvenile, from its early May schedule.

“I’ve got to look for other options,” Ward said. “When you’re going over there you want as much race experience as you can with your 2-year-olds.”

He cautioned that a final determination on starting at Royal Ascot is a few weeks off. “Everything has to come together,” he said.