"…send the word, send the word, o-ver there,
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming…”
Trainer Ken McPeek fired the first salvo in 2004. It was seven years ago when he sent multiple group I/grade I winner Hard Buck to England to compete in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I).
A dual group I winner in his native Brazil, the son of Spend a Buck had captured the Gulfstream Park Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IT) earlier in the year prior to finishing second in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-IT). McPeek
felt the colt deserved another shot on the international stage and Hard
Buck didn’t disappoint, finishing a good second to Doyen in the 12-furlong contest.
Two years ago, trainer Wesley Ward decided to try his hand at Royal Ascot, sending six runners--mostly juveniles--to compete at the prestigious meet. He had two winners that week as Jealous Again captured the Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-II) and Strike The Tiger won the listed Windsor Castle Stakes. With those victories, the juveniles became the first American-trained horses ever to win at Royal Ascot.
After striking out at Royal Ascot last year, Ward has decided
to change tactics in 2011 and send some of his runners over earlier to
gain some experience over the European racecourses. On April 30, the
2-year-old filly Tiz Terrific (Tiznow-Terrifee, by Menifee), captured a
five-furlong maiden contest at Longchamp.
Two days later, Ward trainees struck once again, this time at Chantilly. The former Eclipse champion apprentice jockey sent out two juveniles on Monday, and both found their ways to the winner’s circle. Everyday Dave (Weather
Warning-Numerieus, by Numerous) rolled to an eight-length victory in a
five-furlong conditions race (while toting 128 pounds). Thirty minutes
later, Judy The Beauty (Ghostzapper-Holy Blitz, by Holy Bull) held on by
a neck to claim the filly equivalent (also while carrying 128 pounds).
addition to those three runners, Ward plans on also sending over at
least two more from his barn, including Holiday For Kitten, who captured the Giant’s Causeway Stakes at Keeneland.
Not to be outdone, Todd Pletcher told The Racing Post on Monday that he was pointing three runners
to Royal Ascot, including 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf
winner, More Than Real. The 3-year-old daughter of More Than Ready has
an entry for the prestigious Coronation Stakes (Eng-I), which is run over eight furlongs.
“…So prepare, say a prayer, send the word, send the word to beware;
certainly will be interesting to see how well all of Ward’s and
Pletcher’s runners do next month. Hopefully, it will lead to more
U.S.-based trainers sending strings over to compete in the future.
We’ll be o-ver, we’re com-ing o-ver…”