Ward has a Royal Ascot trip on Four Wheel Drive's radar

November 03, 2019 09:35am
A trip across the pond and a start at Royal Ascot is the likely long-term plan for Four Wheel Drive following his win Friday in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita Park.

Trainer Wesley Ward has been a regular American invader of the Royal Ascot meeting in recent years with some success. He feels Four Wheel Drive, who is owned by Mike Hall’s Breeze Easy LLC, would rate a big look in England.

“We talked a little bit on the plane last night,” Ward said following the race. “Obviously, for me, it’s well known that I try to go to Royal Ascot, and this colt certainly would be one of the favorites next year to do that as we sit today.”

In the Juvenile Turf Sprint, Four Wheel Drive shot to the lead under Irad Ortiz Jr. and was never headed to win by three-quarters of a length. It was the third win in as many starts for the son of American Pharoah. Four Wheel Drive won the Rosie B Stakes at Colonial Downs in his debut on Aug. 31 and came back to score a sharp three-length win in the Futurity Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park on Oct. 6. 

For now, Four Wheel Drive will likely be put away before focusing on a 3-year-old campaign.

"He's done a lot in a short amount of time,” Ward said. “I think he deserves a little bit of a break, a little bit of a letdown and then push forward. But what he's doing right now being a turf sprinter, there's not a lot until the springtime. So we'll sit down with the boys -- not saying that he can't go on the dirt -- and make a big plan here.”

According to Ward, Four Wheel Drive seems to have many of the same traits as his Triple Crown-winning sire. He added a potential try on the dirt down the road is not out of the question.

“His demeanor, American Pharoah from I seen was very docile horse,” Ward said. “He could go anywhere and took everything in and he was almost like a stable pony. This guy is the same way. Mike came over to the barn today, and we brought him out and you have thought he was here for the last seven years. He came out, had his head down, and we were petting him, and he dropped his head. He’s just wonderful.”

Hall plucked Four Wheel Drive out of the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale for $525,000.

Ward has won 10 races at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting, most of any American trainer. The Commonwealth Cup, run on Friday of the June meeting, appears a logical spot for Four Wheel Drive, as it's restricted to 3-year-olds and runs at six furlongs. The next day, the Jersey Stakes runs at 7/8 of a mile for sophomores.


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