A jam-packed field of 18 is expected in the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes (GI), including American invader Lady Aurelia, who won here a year ago in the Queen Mary Stakes (GII) and followed it up with a victory in the Prix Morny (GI) at Deauville. The Wesley Ward-trained daughter of Scat Daddy returned to winter in the United Stakes and won the listed Giant’s Causeway Stakes at Keeneland in April as her main prep for her return to Ascot.
Ward became the first American-bred and based trainer to achieve a winner at the iconic Royal Ascot meeting in 2009 when hitting the target with 33-1 chance Strike The Tiger and has since added six more winners, including Lady Aurelia.
Like all Royal Ascot stakes events, the King’s Stand Stakes is deeply rooted in history and boasts a number of global champions as previous winners since it was first run in 1860, including two-time winner Sole Power, Scenic Blast, Takeover Target, Choisir, Pivotal, Sheikh Albadou, Last Tycoon and Irish Horse of the Year Sole Power.
Group 1 winner Marsha, fresh off her Palace House Stakes (GIII) win at Newmarket six weeks ago, will provide a tough test for Lady Aurelia. The winner of last year’s Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (GI), Marsha is trained by Mark Prescott, who has pushed a friendly rivalry in the press between the daughter of Acclamation and Lady Aurelia.
Other notable names in the King’s Stand Stakes include the Clive Cox-trained Priceless, who looked the part in Haydock’s Temple Stakes (GIII) and stablemate Profitable, who won this event last year. Goldream, who captured this event in 2015 and who hasn’t won a race since October of 2015, aims to regain his crown in here for Robert Cowell.
Other leading runners include French raider Signs Of Blessing, the William Haggas-trained Muthmir and Aidan O’Brien’s Washington DC, who won the listed Windsor Castle Stakes over the course and distance two years ago. American fans know him best as an also-ran in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GI) at Santa Anita nearly nine months ago.
The field for the Kings’s Stand Stakes has been set for 10:40 p.m. ET.
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.
She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law in Kentucky known as the “Borell Law.”Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time.She lives in Robinson, Texas, with her longtime beau, Tony. She is the executive director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit horse rescue, The Bridge Sanctuary.