Dreams and Full Fields Fuel Road to Royal Ascot at Gulfstream
Two ‘Win & In’ Races Saturday for Royal Meet
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has called Royal Ascot “a unique experience.” Trainer Joe Orseno called it the “time of our life.”
It’s no wonder Velazquez and Orseno will try to make it back to Royal Ascot come June when they participate in Saturday’s inaugural Road to Royal Ascot at Gulfstream Park.
For the first time ever, horses will have the opportunity to earn an automatic berth plus a $25,000 equine travel stipend to England for one of the six 2-year-old races at Royal Ascot when Gulfstream Park hosts the $100,000 Royal Palm Juvenile and $100,000 Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies, both scheduled Saturday for five furlongs on the turf.
This year’s Royal Ascot meet runs June 20-24.
Post time for the Royal Palm Juvenile is approximately 3:27 ET and post time for the Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies is approximately 5:01 ET.
Orseno, who saddled multiple graded-stakes winner Imprimis in the 2019 King’s Stand Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot, will saddle two first-time starters in Ironhorse Racing Stable LLC’s and Harlow Stables LLC’s Mattingly in the Royal Palm Juvenile and D J Stable LLC’s Fumblerooski in the Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies.
Mattingly, who sold earlier this year for $70,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in March of 2-year-olds in training, was bought for the “sole purpose of trying to make [Royal Ascot],” Orseno said.
“He worked really well on the Tapeta for me,” he added. “He’s ready to run, but he’s going to be a first-time starter in a stake. If we win that, we’re about 90 percent going [to Ascot].”
Fumblerooski, a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Liam’s Map, is a Kentucky-bred who will enter the Juvenile Fillies with five works.
For Orseno, his trip to Ascot in ’19 was a memorable one.
“It’s all about horse racing there,” he said. “Everybody knew. I jumped in a cab, and I had to go meet the owner somewhere and I told him I had a horse running at Royal Ascot and he didn’t want to charge me, the poor guy.”
Velazquez will head to Gulfstream this weekend to ride likely favorite Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Ocean Mermaid in the Juvenile Fillies and Steve Cauthen’s Holding the Line in the Juvenile. Both are trained by Wesley Ward, who owns 12 wins at Royal Ascot.
The Royal Palm races will offer lots of value with six of the 10 starters in the Juvenile making their debut and seven of the 11 starters in the Juvenile Fillies making their first start.
In the Royal Palm Juvenile, trainer George Weaver will saddle two debut runners in Blast Furnace, a son of The Factor, and No Nay Mets, a son of No Nay Never, winner of the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot in 2013. Arindel will saddle two homebreds in the Juvenile in Reaper, an impressive winner at Gulfstream on the main track April 21, and first-time starter Tiberian Sun. Both are by Arindel’s sire Brethren.
In the Juvenile Fillies, Arindel’s Kiss makes her debut breaking from the rail and with a ‘bullet’ workout over Gulfstream May 7. Weaver will also participate in the Fillies with Crimson Advocate, third on the main track at Keeneland April 26.