Ward’s Kamari Goes Against the Boys in the BC Sprint

November 3, 2022

Kamari gets a jog in at Keeneland. Coady Photography

Ward sends out Love Reigns in the Juvenile Turf Sprint; 
Chi Town Lady in the F&M Turf Sprint; and, 
Golden Pal, Campanelle and Arrest Me Red in the Turf Sprint

Breeders Cup Notes/Edited

LEXINGTON, Ky.—For trainer Wesley Ward, the decision to enter Kimari against males in the Sprint rather than the Filly & Mare Sprint was a pretty easy call. It came down to a furlong.

The 5yo daughter of Munnings co-owned by Jonathan Poulin, Westerberg, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor has won nine of 16 race and earned $1.1 million. She will try to become the fourth female to win the Sprint and the first since Desert Stormer in 1995. The Filly & Mare Sprint was added to the Breeders’ Cup lineup in 2007.

In her most recent start, she won the 6 ½f Gallant Bloom at Aqueduct on Sept. 25 by 1 ¼ lengths. The Sprint is run at 6f, but the Filly and Mare Sprint is at 7f. She is perfect in two 6f starts and 1 for 3 at 7f.

“I think she’s much better at six or 6 ½ than seven,” Ward said. “The extra little bit, I think she’s just vulnerable, whereas at six furlongs I’m not afraid of anyone. I know Jackie’s Warrior is just awesome, but my feeling is she’s almost like a colt. I just think that she’s in top form right now at her home track. She’s got good spacing from the win at Aqueduct until now. Her works have been great. She’s dead sound and she’s had many physical issues that have plagued her during her career that she doesn’t have right now. Everything is coming to hand.”

Kimari will start from post two under Jose Ortiz. She is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line behind Jackie’s Warrior. 

Love Reigns on the track at Keeneland. Coady Photography

Ward will send out the Irish-bred filly Love Reigns (IRE) as he seeks to win the Juvenile Turf Sprint for a Breeders’ Cup record fourth straight year.

Ward has been a dominant figure in the race. He finished second in the inaugural running in 2018 and has since won with Four Wheel Drive in the 2019; Golden Pal in 2020 and Twilight Gleaming last year at Del Mar. He has saddled 13 runners in the Juvenile Turf Sprint – Aidan O’Brien is next with four – has a 3-1-1 record and earnings of $1.9 million.

Stonestreet Stable’s Love Reigns proved herself to be a Juvenile Turf Sprint prospect with a win in Bolton Landing on Aug 21 at Saratoga. The Bolton Landing was her first start since finishing fourth, missing third by a nose, in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

“She’s very nice. We’re going to hook into a nice filly as well (The Platinum Queen) that’s came over who was second against the older horses in the Nunthorpe at York and win against older horses as a 2-year-old filly in the Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc Day.

“My filly is training very, very well. We’re going with similar tactic as we did with Twilight Gleaming where we got good spacing from Saratoga to now. Twilight Gleaming, we had a race in France that she won with Frankie (Dettori) up and then we gave her time, and we ran her and she won the Breeders’ Cup last year. She’s going to have good spacing, and she should run a really big race here at her home track as well.”

Irad Ortiz Jr., who was up on Ward’s three winners in this race, will ride Love Reigns from post two.

Chi Town Lady getting a gallop in at Keeneland. Coady Photography

A change of equipment – removing blinkers – and a willingness to try a different running style turned Chi Town Lady into a Grade 1 winner at Saratoga this summer and promptly made her a prospect for Saturday’s Filly & Mare Sprint.

Ward’s experiment with Castleton Lyons’ 3yo Verrazano filly yielded a huge reward in the 7f Test on Aug. 6.

“She ran a big race at Saratoga where our plan was to come from way, way back and make a big run. We were hoping for an on-the-board finish and lo and behold, it was our day and we won.”

Chi Town Lady won the first two starts of her career in 2021, one on dirt and the other on turf, but after unsatisfying performances to end the season, Ward decided to switch his approach this year. Though she was last of seven in the Beaumont at Keeneland on April 10, she showed promise running second in an allowance race at Churchill Downs in May. Running fresh in the Test, she rallied from last to first at 17-1.

“I started listening to how she was wanting to run from behind as opposed to keep her up close to the pace and I think that has made the difference,” Ward said.

From the Test, Ward started preparing Chi Town Lady for the Filly and Mare Sprint, opting to train her up to the race.

“Our plan was to not have her run prior to the Breeders Cup, do a prep, run a big race and not be all there for us in the Breeders Cup,” Ward said. “I said, ‘Let’s just do a little break from that win and start training her and honing her down tighter, tighter, tighter as time went by,’ and they did. She’s ready to go. We’re just going to go with the same plan at our home track here, where she’s trained her whole life, to sit back there way, way back and make one big run.”

Flavien Prat will ride Chi Town Lady, who is 20-1 on the morning line, from Post three.

Chi Town Lady will be Ward’s sixth starter in the race. Three of them were by Judy the Beauty, who he owned and trained. She was second in 2013, finished first in 2014 and was fifth in her career finale in 2015.

Even if he picks up the records he is seeking, trainer Wesley Ward acknowledges that Turf Sprint will be a bittersweet race, the final start of his star Golden Pal before he goes to stud.

Golden Pal catching a breeze Wednesday morning. Coady Photography

Ward will start three horses, Golden Pal, Arrest Me Red and Campanelle in the 5 ½f Turf Sprint. He has won the last three runnings of the race and was second in the inaugural in 2018. A fourth straight victory break a tie with several others and make him the first trainer in the 39-year history of the event to win the same race four years in a row.

Golden Pal, Ward’s second winner in the Turf Sprint, is seeking his third win in the Breeders’ Cup. Twenty-two horses have won two Breeders’ Cup races. Just two, Hall of Fame members, Goldikova and Beholder, have three victories.

Ward said a third win would be a special achievement for the 4yo co-owned by the Coolmore partnership of Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Westerberg Limited.

“I think that says a lot for how I’ve been professing this horse to be so great from the onset,” Ward said. “The only thing that he hasn’t done that I wish he could do would be to go back to Royal Ascot and win The King’s Stand and he won’t get a chance to do that. But if he can win three Breeders’ Cups that really puts him in an elite company. That’s for sure.”

Golden Pal opened his 2022 season by winning the Shakertown on his home track at Keeneland. Ward’s hopes for a victory at Royal Ascot in June were dashed when jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was distracted by an unruly horse behind the gate and missed the break.

In the Troy at Saratoga, Golden Pal had an uncharacteristic slow start, but showed grit to rally and win by a head.

“Our plan going in was to take him back. So that kind of helped us a little bit,” Ward said. “We want to kind of use that as a prep to if something happened, if in here in the Breeders’ Cup if the pace was hot that we could teach him something how to rate sit back off the pace. So it all worked out.  He kind of didn’t come out as quickly as he has and after the first 10 jumps Irad got him to relax. When he turned for home off he went and he won. It all worked out according to what I wanted to teach him.”

Ward asked Ortiz to ride a typically aggressive race in the Woodford on Oct. 8 and Golden Pal led from gate to wire to stay perfect in four races at Keeneland and improve to 8-2-0 in 12 career starts. He has earned $1.8 million.

Ortiz and Golden Pal drew Post eight and are the 2-1 favorites on the morning line.

Lael Stable’ homebred Arrest Me Red by Pioneerof the Nile, will make his first start in the Breeders’ Cup. He has won six of 11 starts and 3 for 4 at the 5 ½f distance. In his most recent start, he was third by 1 ½ lengths in the Turf Sprint on Sept. 10 over the undulating course at Kentucky Downs.

Arrest Me Red showing some shade of her own kicking up some spunk Thursday morning at Keeneland. Coady Photography

Arrest Me Red has been overshadowed by his accomplished stablemate.

“If I didn’t have Golden Pal, I’d be singing his praises,” Ward said. “As you can see by his form, he’s never runs a bad race. He’s a hard-trier, and we’re spacing him out. He’s a big, heavy colt. Once we switched him back to the grass, he just took to it like a fish to water.

This is one that we’re going to be pointing for Ascot next year, as he’ll sort of move up to the top. We’ll be looking at The King’s Stand with him next year. So, we’re gonna keep him here in Kentucky. In years past we’ve taken him to Florida. He’s really training very, very well. I’d be looking for him to run a big, big race.”

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez returns to the saddle. The two, leaving from post 7, are 15-1 on the morning line.

Campanelle gets a work in at Keeneland

Campanelle (IRE) has compiled a brilliant resume in her three seasons on the track. The 4yo Irish-bred Kodiac filly owned by Stonestreet Stables has won six of 10 starts in Europe and America and earned $1 million.

“She’s a highly accomplished Group 1 winner in the Morny at 2 in France, won two races at Royal Ascot, was third this year against the colts going six furlongs,” Ward said. “Just comes in off a resounding win down at Kentucky Downs. She is coming into the race phenomenal. I am expecting a lot from her as well. The thing about her is that she is going to come from just slightly off the pace to where if it’s a hot pace up front she’s going to come running.”

Jockey Frankie Detorri, who rode her to her wins in Europe, will be aboard in the Turf Sprint. They will leave from post four and are 8-1 on the morning line.

@jonathanstettin Wonderful article! You’re a great ambassador for the game! We’ve been spoiled with elite equine athletes in recent memory.

@ReidT8 View testimonials