Leading Trainer Sends Out Seventeen, Including Arrest Me Red, Campanelle
FRANKLIN, Ky.— Trainer Wesley Ward has been here, done that.
The 54-year-old Ward has been the leading trainer at Kentucky Downs three times on his own – in 2008, 2010 and 2014 – and was part of a three-way tie in 2019.
Winning the title is not the goal. Winning races is.
“You just want to win,” Ward said. “That is more important than a title. If you get lucky and win, great. If you run second with the purses, it’s better than winning at a lot of other places. It’s fantastic.”
Ward has 17 horses entered for the final three days of the meet.
On Saturday he will saddle Arrest Me Red, the 9-5 Global Tote morning-line favorite, in the six-furlong $1 million FanDuel Turf Sprint (G2) as well as Campanelle (IRE), the 8-5 morning-line choice in the 61/2-furlong $600,000 Mint Ladies Sprint Stakes (G3).
He will close out Saturday with Asymmetric (IRE), who is 8-1 on the morning line in the 6 1/2-furlong $600,000 Franklin-Simpson Stakes (G2).
All three of the horses will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr.
“This is a great place to bring them,” Ward said. “The money is unbelievable. People are coming from Europe now to race because of the purses. It’s a very safe course for horses and jockeys. They all come out of the races the same way they go into them.”
The 4-year-old Arrest Me Red, owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stables, last ran in the Grade 1 Jaipur at Belmont Park on June 11, Belmont Stakes Day. He finished second and Ward said he targeted this spot for the son of Pioneerof the Nile.
“We have done all we could to make sure he brings his ‘A’ game to this race,” Ward said.
Ward’s best male turf sprinter is the formidable Golden Pal, who will not be making an appearance at Kentucky Downs. Arrest Me Red has done enough to allow Ward to give the colt his own due.
Arrest Me Red has won six of nine career starts on grass for earnings of $717,000.
“I would say this, if the Breeders’ Cup (Turf Sprint) lined up today, Golden Pal would be the odds-on favorite,” Ward said. “(Arrest Me Red) would be fighting for second, third or fourth choice in the odds. He is a talented horse on the turf.”
Originally, Ward was going to target Arrest Me Red to do his work on dirt. But that didn’t work.
“He had several works on the dirt and showed absolutely nothing,” Ward said. “Then, we put him on turf and that is exactly where he wanted to be. It was like a fish to water.”
Arrest Me Red, who will start from post position 12, has won three of four starts at six furlongs.
Campanelle, owned by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables, has won five of nine career starts on the grass. The 4-year-old daughter of Kodiac was last seen finishing third in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) at Royal Ascot.
It was the third time she has run at the premier meet in Great Britain. She finished second in the Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) in 2021 but was awarded victory via disqualification. She won the Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) in 2020.
“She is a filly of great quality,” Ward said. “This race (Mint Ladies Sprint) is an ideal distance for her. She is nearly a three-time winner at Royal Ascot. She is right up there with some of the best I have ever trained. When you have horses like this, you go into these races with confidence.”
The expectations are not as high for Asymmetric, a 3-year-old colt owned by Rebecca Hillen. He will be facing 14 others in the Franklin-Simpson Stakes, including the 8-5 favorite Big Invasion, who has won his last six starts.
Asymmetric finished second, beaten by 3 1/4 lengths by Big Invasion in the seven-furlong Paradise Creek on May 29 and then was no match for him when fifth in the 5 1/2-furlong John’s Call at Saratoga on July 17.
“On paper, the favorite looks unbeatable,” Ward said. “But we don’t run the races on paper. We are coming into this race very well.”
By Tim Wilkin – Kentucky Downs Press Release
Main photo: Campanelle with Irad Ortiz Jr. up wins the 2022 Giant’s Causeway for trainer Wesley Ward and owner Barbara Banke (Keeneland Photo)