05/14/2009 11:00PM

Ward bringing six to Royal Ascot


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Wesley Ward is looking for another world to conquer. Having dominated the first couple of months of 2-year-old racing in America, the 41-year-old trainer will be sending six horses - five of them 2-year-olds - to run next month in stakes at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet in Great Britain.

"One of the main reasons for going is I don't have a lot of places to run my better 2-year-olds at this time of year," said Ward, who into Friday already had sent out 14 2-year-old winners from 32 starts.

The Ward contingent will be flown to England on June 5 to prepare for the five-day Ascot meet that runs June 16 to 20. "If things work out, I'll have at least one runner every day," said Ward.

The 2-year-olds being sent are Aegean and Jealous Again, the one-two finishers in the April 30 Kentucky Stakes at Churchill Downs, along with Strike the Tiger, Yogaroo, and Grand Times, all maiden winners in their last starts. Cannonball, a stakes-seasoned 4-year-old gelding, is the other runner being shipped.

Ward, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice rider of 1984, said he has never been to England.

"It should be a lot of fun and a great experience," he said.

Lights for June cards start to go up

Personnel with Iowa-based Musco Lighting on Monday will begin the major work in installing banks of lights to be used for the three nighttime programs to be held later this meet at Churchill.

Already installed last week was a 120-foot-tall stanchion in Section 112 in the clubhouse, just outside the entrance into the first turn. Churchill officials said some of the lights that will illuminate the stretch will be fitted atop the clubhouse and grandstand in prefabricated holders that initially were intended for permanent lighting - for which plans were ultimately scrapped - during the track's $121 million renovation in 2002-05.

Churchill will host night cards beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern on June 19, June 26, and July 2. Officials acknowledge the track will not come close to recouping the costs of the temporary lighting with those three cards, but rather the programs should be useful in determining whether permanent lighting, with an estimated cost of about $4 million, might be worth considering in the future.

Musco has installed sports lighting systems for such major events as the Olympics and the Super Bowl.

Leparoux's wins came at high level

One of the most noteworthy aspects to Julien Leparoux hitting a career milestone of 1,000 wins here Wednesday was the fact that 53 of those victories came in graded stakes. Into Friday action, Leparoux had 1,003 wins and nearly $43.6 million in mount earnings, with more than $16.8 million in purses, or nearly 39 percent, coming from graded stakes.

In the less than four years since he rode his first mount on this continent in August 2005 at Saratoga, Leparoux, 25, has established himself as one of the premier riders in North America. Voted the 2006 Eclipse Award for apprentice rider, Leparoux has won multiple riding titles at Churchill, Keeneland, and Turfway. He rode regularly at Gulfstream Park for the first time last winter, and led the standings before leaving prior to the end of the meet. He has won two Breeders' Cup races and is regularly sought out for mounts in major races, including in the Triple Crown.

Milestones for Amoss and Borel

Local milestones were registered a half-hour apart here Thursday when Tom Amoss sent out his 300th Churchill winner one race before Calvin Borel booted home his 900th Churchill winner.

McGlamery Road captured the fifth race for Amoss, making him the ninth trainer in track history to win 300. Into Friday racing, Bill Mott was the runaway leader in career wins here with 615.

For Borel, his 900th Churchill win, which came aboard War Eagle Lady in the sixth, was like piling on, considering how phenomenal the last couple of weeks have been for him in view of his Kentucky Oaks and Derby sweep. He became the fourth jockey in track history to hit the 900 mark, a number far shy of Pat Day's mark of 2,482.

Two Grade 3's next weekend

A pair of Grade 3, $100,000 stakes are on tap for next weekend, when the new standard of a four-day race week will be extended to five on Memorial Day.

The Saturday feature is the Louisville Handicap, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for older horses, and the Memorial Day feature is the Winning Colors, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Besides all Wednesdays being dark for the rest of the meet, Thursday, May 28, also will be dark, leaving a three-day week from May 29-31.