Trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Jeffrey Sanchez, who combined to win three 2-year-old stakes at Chantilly Racecourse in France from April 30-May 2, have returned to the United States and joined forces once again Thursday at Belmont Park.
“It’s been great,” said Ward moments after sending out Sanchez to a runner-up effort aboard Gentlemans Code, the first of his two starters yesterday at Belmont. “The horses have been running well. That’s all you can ask for in this game.”
Ward, who in 2009 annexed two stakes at Royal Ascot in England, was thrilled with the outcome of his recent expedition to France.
“[Chantilly] is a beautiful, historic racetrack, just like Belmont,” said Ward. “It’s unbelievable to go over there and have my horses run so well.”
Sanchez, winner of the 2010 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies aboard Awesome Feather, has been more than willing to travel across North America and now throughout the world to ride horses for Ward, having recently competed at Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, Chantilly, and now Belmont for the trainer.
“[Sanchez] is a fantastic talent and I think he has a world of talent,” said Ward. “He really isn’t a ‘name’ jockey as of yet. He can travel around and isn’t committed to anybody. Until he gets that name and I have to fight for him, he’s a guy who can go to Europe and doesn’t have a commitment to other trainers here.”
Ward, who has been allocated stalls at Aqueduct Racetrack, said he will have a “nice string” of horses in New York and will continue to be active during the 2011 Belmont spring/summer meet.