A few years ago, Royal Ascot was not on the radar of many American horse racing fans, but that changed dramatically after Tepin’s incredible Queen Anne Stakes victory last year, as well as Wesley Ward’s recent success with 2-year-olds. The 2017 meeting could be America’s best showing yet, with a record 14 horses sent over to compete in the prestigious meet.
Royal Ascot will start on Tuesday, June 20th, and run through Saturday, June 24th. For the first time ever, NBC Sports will be covering each day from Royal Ascot this year. Live coverage will be from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM ET, so don’t forget to tune in and root for our horses. Each day features a six-race card, all stakes events and you can get FREE picks for them all here! Here’s a look at our prospective runners and their chances of winning:
American Patriot – A recent winner of two straight races, including the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile last time out at Keeneland, he’ll be taking a shot at the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday, the same race that Tepin won last year. His competition will be stout, as solid horses such as Ribchester, Lightning Spear, and Mutakayyef are all pointing towards this race. American Patriot is currently trading at 20-1 in the European markets.
Miss Temple City – She’s also pointing towards the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday, so we know she’ll be up against a tough group. This mare has had very little luck this year, as she’s been entered to run in the United States twice but had to scratch both times due to wet track conditions. Royal Ascot is a tough meet to enter off this long of a layoff, and the European bettors are showing no confidence in her, as her early odds are around 25-1. This will be her third trip to Royal Ascot. She previously finished fourth each time, in the 2015 Coronation Stakes and the 2016 Duke of Cambridge Stakes.
Lady Aurelia – Last year, she came to Royal Ascot and romped as a 2-year-old. She’s back to try again as a 3-year-old in the Kings Stand Stakes on Tuesday. She’s currently 3-1 in the European markets, a slight but deserving favorite. She enters off of a really solid prep race at Keeneland in the Giant’s Causeway Stakes.
Long On Value – Currently getting no respect in the European markets, he’s trading at 33-1 for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday. Call me crazy, but I think that he has a better chance than his odds indicate, even if he’s up against a tough field. Last time out, he nearly won the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night, so he’s coming into this race better than ever.
La Coronel – One year after trainer Mark Casse won the Queen Anne Stakes with Tepin, he’s back to try and make it two in a row at Royal Ascot with La Coronel. She’ll run in the Coronation Stakes on Friday after a pair of solid Grade 3 stakes wins (the Appalachian and the Edgewood) in the United States. Talent-wise, she is possibly the best stateside 3-year-old turf filly, but she’s had bad luck in the bigger races. Right now, she’s trading at 16-1 in the European markets for this race and must take on the extremely talented Winter, who should be a heavy favorite for this one.
Arawak – This Uncle Mo 2-year-old colt crushed the competition by 7 lengths in his only race, a maiden special weight at Belmont Park. He’s now pointed to the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday, and you have to like his chances, considering Ward’s recent success at the meeting. He’s currently trading at around 6-1 in the European markets, making him the fourth choice. He should have a big-time shot to win.
Happy Like a Fool – This seems to be the Wesley Ward 2-year-old getting the most hype heading into Royal Ascot. She’ll run in the Queen Mary Stakes on Wednesday and looks to be a decent favorite, trading at 2-1 in the European markets. She comes here off of a nice 4-length maiden special weight win at Keeneland, so be excited about her chances.
Nootka Sound – Another good-looking Wesley Ward 2-year-old with a big shot, she’s pointing towards the Windsor Castle Stakes on Tuesday. Right now, she’s a luke-warm favorite at odds of 13/2 in the European markets. She only has one race under her belt, a dominating maiden special weight win at Keeneland. She’s bred to run very well on the turf and could be the one to beat in this race.
Elizabeth Darcy – Much like Nootka Sounds, Elizabeth Darcy is also pointing towards the Windsor Castle Stakes on Tuesday. She’s currently the second choice in the European markets at 6-1, giving Wesley Ward the top two betting choices. She comes to Royal Ascot off of a 7 1/2-length maiden score at Indiana Grand. We’ll see how that Indian Grand form can hold up at Royal Ascot.
Fairyland – Pointing for the Queen Mary Stakes on Wednesday with her stablemate, Happy Like a Fool, she’ll be the higher-priced of the two, currently trading at around 6-1 in the European markets. Also like her stablemate, she was a winner at Keeneland last time out in a maiden special weight, by a little over 3 lengths. She should have a solid chance to make some noise.
McErin – He’ll likely be running in the Norfolk Stakes on Thursday, and like most of these Wesley Ward 2-year-olds, he’s currently the favorite in the European markets, at 4-1. He has two races under his belt in the United States, with a blowout win in a maiden special weight at Keeneland and a third-place effort in a stakes at Churchill Downs. He’s another Ward baby that’s in with a big shot.
Create A Dream – Unsure what race she’ll be pointing for, but she was fourth last year in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot. She broke her maiden at Ascot last year before the big meeting and was recently a winner in the Chelsey Flower Stakes at Belmont Park. This will be her first start since October, so this could be a tough task.
Princess Peggy – She’s pointed towards the Albany Stakes on Friday, and out of all of his horses, Wesley Ward is admittedly the most skeptical about this one’s chances. She’s not getting much action in the markets, but her one race in the United States was a blowout win at Belmont Park in a maiden special weight. She’s recorded a decent workout over the track. so maybe an upset is in the cards.
Bound for Nowhere – This solid Wesley Ward 3-year-old is two for two heading to Royal Ascot to compete in the Commonwealth Cup on Friday. He’s currently trading at around 12-1 in the European markets, but he’ll face the very difficult task of taking on the superstar Caravaggio. This is an ultra-tough spot to try stakes company for the first time against an international star.