06/15/2011 12:26PM

Royal Ascot: More Than Real up against it in Coronation Stakes


More Than Real, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs last fall, faces a formidable task when she makes her 2011 debut in Friday’s Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in England.

The premier race of the Royal Ascot meeting for 3-year-old fillies will also be More Than Real’s first start outside of North America.

But one thing is in More Than Real’s favor – she has already beaten the expected favorite, Together, who was fifth in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall. Together, trained by Aidan O’Brien, has run three times this year, including runner-up finishes in the English 1000 Guineas on May 1 and the Irish 1000 Guineas on May 22. The winners of those races, Blue Bunting and Misty For Me, are not in the Coronation, which is run over a mile and has drawn a field of 13.

More Than Real, trained by Todd Pletcher for Bobby Flay, was listed as a 9-1 chance on Wednesday, with Together the 4-1 favorite in a race with an open feel. More Than Real had eight recorded workouts in Florida and New York from April to early June before being sent to England.

Ginny DePasquale, Pletcher’s assistant, traveled with the filly and Bridgetown, who finished 12th in the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday. They were based at Newmarket in the build-up to Royal Ascot.

“She is definitely bigger, strong and more mature than last year,” Depasquale said of More Than Real at a press conference last week in England. “She’s very focused on her training and doing quite well here. The aim would be for More Than Real to make one good run at the end.”

Oliver Peslier has the mount on More Than Real, who, aside from Together, must beat such leading contenders as Theyskens’ Theory, who was sixth in the BC Juvenile Fillies on the main track last fall and a stakes winner at York, England, last month; Maqaasid, third in the English 2000 Guineas; and Joviality, the winner of the Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York last month.

Earlier on the program, American trainer Wesley Ward starts Judy the Beauty in the Group 3 Albany Stakes for 2-year-old fillies over six furlongs. In the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/2 miles, Glen’s Diamond, trained by Richard Fahey, will attempt to win his third consecutive race, a streak that includes the Group 3 Dee Stakes at Chester, England, last month.