ASCOT, England (AP) — American filly Lady Aurelia won at Royal Ascot for the second straight year, cruising to a three-length victory in the King's Stand Stakes under replacement jockey John Velazquez on Tuesday.
"She's a once-in-a-lifetime horse," said trainer Wesley A. Ward after Lady Aurelia backed up her win in the Queen Mary Stakes in 2016.
Frankie Dettori was scheduled to ride Lady Aurelia, but pulled out of the entire meeting early Tuesday after failing to recover from an arm injury sustained when he was thrown off a horse in a parade ring last week.
Velazquez was drafted in and settled the U.S. horse into a good early position in the third race of Day 1. Lady Aurelia took the lead with two furlongs to run and pulled clear, winning the five-furlong race in 57.45 seconds, just short of a course record.
"This is wonderful for American racing," said Ward, who has eight career winners at Ascot since 2009. Six of those wins have been by juveniles.
Ward has 10 entries at the prestigious meeting staged just outside London, as part of the largest contingent of U.S. runners — 14 — to compete at Royal Ascot.
Godolphin won three races on the opening day, including the St. James's Palace Stakes with 5-2 shot Barney Roy as favorite Churchill finished fourth in the signature race.
Ribchester won the Queen Anne Stakes, and Sound And Silence won the Windsor Castle Stakes, both for Godolphin.
Following the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II at the course ahead of the start of the meeting, racing was preceded by a minute's silence in honor of the victims of attacks in Britain in recent weeks.