Breeze Easy LLC’s Kentucky-bred 2-year-old filly Shang Shang Shang won the six furlong Norfolk Stakes (G2) by a nose over Pocket Dynamo and became the first horse this year to earn an automatic berth into the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
Shang Shang Shang is the 10th Royal Ascot winner by trainer by Wesley Ward, who had not won a race during the first two days of the Royal meeting.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 82 stakes races, whose winners receive automatic starting positons and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, Nov. 2-3.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Shang Shang Shang to start in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at 5.5 furlong, which is an open race for both 2-year-old males and fillies. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters base outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
Ward Trainee Remains Undefeated
Shang Shang Shang, a bay daughter of Shanghai Bobby and bred by Kris Del Giudice, won her second race in as many starts following a 4.5-furlong maiden win at Keeneland in April 26. Sent off at 5-1 from post 10 in the 10-horse Norfolk field, Shang Shang Shang stayed near the far side of the course but was maneuvered by Ward to the center and made a concerted drive to the wire with a furlong out, and was strong enough to hold off 20-1 Pocket Dynamo at the wire.
“To do this with a filly is quite unbelievable,” said Wesley Ward, of his runner who became the first filly since 2000 to win the Norfolk. “I come here every year, but we were kinda scratching our heads for a few days and felt like we were back at the beginning and wondering if we were in the wrong place or not. We had done all the planning just as before but it wasn’t coming through – thank God it did today. Barely!
Ward also had high praise for Rosario. “I have got to tell you something about this jockey. He is fabulous. He has put the time and effort in, which is why he is here. He has won Derbys, World Cups, yet he was in every day breezing my two-year-olds all winter long.”