What to know about the 2022 Royal Ascot

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The Royal Ascot, England’s most elite week of flat Thoroughbred racing, takes on an even more festive air this year, with the meet beginning just days after Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and more fans in attendance after a very reduced capacity in 2021 and empty grandstands in 2020.

Catch all the action from Tuesday, June 14 to Saturday, June 18 on Peacock every day. Coverage of the final day will also be available on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

What is the Royal Ascot?

The Royal Ascot is one of the most well-known horse racing meets in the world. It’s held at one of the top flat racecourses in the United Kingdom and hosts horses from across the globe in 35 races, including eight Group 1 races, over the span of five days.

Racing at Ascot began in 1711 when Queen Anne declared her love for horse racing. The first race was the Her Majesty’s Plate with a seven-horse field. Over a century later, King George IV held the first royal carriage procession on the track to signal the start of the event. The traditions of the royal family, high fashion and elite horse racing have continued ever since.

When and where is the 2022 Royal Ascot?

This year, the Royal Ascot will take place from Tuesday, June 14 to Saturday, June 18 at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England. It’s just minutes away from Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth’s primary residence.

Unlike tracks in America, Ascot Racecourse is shaped like a rounded triangle with two straightaway spokes and includes uphill and downhill stretches.

Ascot is located in the British Summer Time Zone, which is five hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone in the U.S.

How can I watch the 2022 Royal Ascot?

NBC is home to the 2022 Royal Ascot, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on Peacock before, during and after each race. The final day of the meet will also be available on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Stream the Royal Ascot here.

2022 Royal Ascot Broadcast Schedule (all times EST)

  • Tuesday, June 14 — 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
  • Wednesday, June 15 — 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
  • Thursday, June 16 — 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
  • Friday, June 17 — 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
  • Saturday, June 18 — 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Peacock)
    9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (NBC, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app)

Will the Queen be at Royal Ascot this year?

Traditionally, the Queen, a lifelong equestrian and racehorse owner herself, makes a daily entrance in a horse-drawn carriage as part of the royal procession. The Queen didn’t attend in 2020, but she made an appearance the following year. After her limited attendance at Platinum Jubilee, it wouldn’t be shocking for her to miss this year as well. Other members of the royal family are also avid racing fans and could attend as well.

Is Royal Ascot doing anything special for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee?

This year, the previously named Diamond Jubilee Stakes becomes the Platinum Jubilee Stakes. It is set to run on the final day of the meet, Saturday, June 18 with an approximate post time of 11:20 a.m. ET. The six-furlong race boasts a £1 million purse and is for horses aged four and up.

It originated as the All-Ages Stakes in 1868 and became the Cork and Orrery Stakes in 1926. For the last two decades, the race has been named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, first as the Golden Jubilee starting in 2002, and then as the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

The Queen also had 70 oak trees, in honor of her 70 years in power, planted along the processional route the royal family traditionally takes from Windsor Castle to Ascot.

What are traditions at the Royal Ascot?

While there will still be plenty of fans in the stands at Royal Ascot this year, the meet will still have a reduced number of fans. Attendance in several enclosures (ticketed areas) will be capped, and a new area called the Royal Enclosure Gardens will allow racegoers to spread out even more.

Royal Ascot boasts its own spread of famous, traditional foods. In 2019, the last year the meet ran with a full grandstand of spectators, there were approximately 110,000 cups of tea served, 120,000 buttermilk scones eaten and nearly 350 chefs serving food. Luckily, such delicacies can be prepared at home in the kitchen, as many fans will watch the races from their living rooms.

The Royal Ascot’s longest-running race, The Gold Cup, takes place on Thursday of the week’s schedule (June 16, approx. 11:20 a.m. ET). It’s a marathon of a race at 2 miles and 4 furlongs, and the Queen typically presents the trophies to the winning jockey and owner.

What do you wear to Royal Ascot?

The Royal Ascot is as much a social event as it is a sporting event, so it’s no surprise that high fashion is one of its most defining features. There are two enclosures for spectators at Ascot, and all guests must adhere to that enclosure’s dress codes.

Men’s attire traditionally requires a top hat and a waistcoat with a tie (except for jockeys). Women should dress formally and must always wear a hat, headpiece or fascinator (except in the Royal Enclosure, which permits hats and headpieces with a solid four-inch base but does not allow fascinators). Strapless clothing and sheer fabrics are not allowed, and dresses have to be just above the knee or longer.

In 2020, top hats and coattails weren’t required as the track ran a barebones meet due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is the Royal Ascot part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series?

Four Royal Ascot races this year are part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

On Tuesday, June 14, the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at approximately 9:30 a.m. ET offers a spot in the Mile. Later that day, the King’s Stand Stakes (G1) will give horses a chance at the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at 10:40 a.m. ET. June 15’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) breaks from the gate at around 10:40 a.m. ET and is a qualifier for the Turf. Finally, the Norfolk Stakes (G2) on Thursday, June 16 at 9:30 a.m. ET is in the Juvenile Turf Sprint division. See the full race schedule below.

Winners of Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races will receive automatic entry into the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race this November at Keeneland, and all entry fees will be paid for.

Full Royal Ascot race schedule:

Tuesday, June 14

  • 9:30 a.m. ET — The Queen Anne Stakes (G1) — Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (Mile)
  • 10:05 a.m. ET — The Coventry Stakes (G2)
  • 10:40 a.m. ET — The King’s Stand Stakes (G1) — Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (Turf Sprint)
  • 11:20 a.m. ET — The St James’s Palace Stakes (G1)
  • 12:00 p.m. ET — The Ascot Stakes (Handicap)
  • 12:35 p.m. ET — The Wolferton Stakes (Listed)
  • 1:10 p.m. ET — The Copper Horse Stakes (Handicap)

Wednesday, June 15

  • 9:30 a.m. ET — The Queen Mary Stakes (G2)
  • 10:05 a.m. ET — The Queen’s Vase (G2)
  • 10:40 a.m. ET — The Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) — Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (Turf)
  • 11:20 a.m. ET — The Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2)
  • 12:00 p.m. ET — The Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap)
  • 12:35 p.m. ET — The Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)
  • 1:10 p.m. ET — The Kensington Palace Stakes (Handicap)

Thursday, June 16

  • 9:30 a.m. ET — The Norfolk Stakes (G2) — Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (Juvenile Turf Sprint)
  • 10:05 a.m. ET — The King George V Stakes (Handicap)
  • 10:40 a.m. ET — The Ribblesdale Stakes (G2)
  • 11:20 a.m. ET — The Gold Cup (G1)
  • 12:00 p.m. ET — The Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
  • 12:35 p.m. ET — The Hampton Court Stakes (G3)
  • 1:10 p.m. ET — The Buckingham Palace Stakes (Handicap)

Friday, June 17

  • 9:30 a.m. ET — The Albany Stakes (G3)
  • 10:05 a.m. ET — The Commonwealth Cup (G1)
  • 10:40 a.m. ET — The Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap)
  • 11:20 a.m. ET — The Coronation Stakes (G1)
  • 12:00 p.m. ET — The Sandringham Stakes (Handicap)
  • 12:35 p.m. ET — The King Edward VII Stakes (G2)
  • 1:10 p.m. ET — The Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes (Handicap)

Saturday, June 18

  • 9:30 a.m. ET — The Chesham Stakes (Listed)
  • 10:05 a.m. ET — The Jersey Stakes (G3)
  • 10:40 a.m. ET — The Hardwicke Stakes (G2)
  • 11:20 a.m. ET — The Platinum Jubilee Stakes (G1)
  • 12:00 p.m. ET — The Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
  • 12:35 p.m. ET — The Golden Gates Stakes (Handicap)
  • 1:10 p.m. ET — The Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions)

Watch the Royal Ascot from Tuesday, June 14 to Saturday, June 18 on Peacock every day. Coverage of the final day will also be available on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Breeders’ Cup preps reach crescendo with Fall Stars Weekend at Keeneland

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To the horse racing world, Keeneland is Disneyland. Everything about the Keeneland experience tells you that you are in a special place where the world revolves around thoroughbred racing and breeding.

Take Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, for example. Although it’s in a relatively small marketplace, it can handle 747 jets, because wealthy owners attending the horse sales often arrive in a jumbo jet with a large entourage. When you leave the airport, you are at the intersection of Man o’War Boulevard and Versailles Road. You’re literally across the street from Gate 1 of Keeneland Race Course. Keeneland, by the way, is adjacent to the legendary Calumet Farm. Venturing out onto various side streets, you will almost stumble upon some of the most famous breeding facilities in the world. In the paddocks of these farms, the vision of mares and their foals frolicking is commonplace, looking like a scene from a movie.

Keeneland is unique, as its elegance and its racing exist side by side with its primary purpose: being a place where millions of dollars change hands on a regular basis in the sales pavilion. A countless number of legendary horses had their careers begin with their purchase in that pavilion. Unlike venues in places like New York and California, where racing is conducted virtually year-round, racing at Keeneland is held for three weeks in the spring and three weeks in the fall.

RELATED: Pleasant Passage wins Miss Grillo Stakes

The fall meeting is situated perfectly to provide final prep races for many of the horses who are pointed to a performance in the Breeders’ Cup. In a span of 3 days, from October 7th to 9th, Fall Stars Weekend will feature 9 different “Win and You’re In” races in nine different Breeders’ Cup divisions. Normally, these would be very attractive races with large purses, but when you add in the fact that the Breeders’ Cup will be held at Keeneland this year, they are even more attractive. These races offer the prospect of having a horse get a final prep at Keeneland, stay stabled in the Lexington area, and then compete in the Breeders’ Cup, all in a four-week span. For those based at Keeneland, it means they will just have a brief walk through the magnificent stable area to get to the location where they will be racing.

History of The Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland

The first Breeders’ Cup held at Keeneland was the 2015 edition, and the decision to hold the event there was controversial. Many in the racing world felt that the facility was too small, as it could not hold the large crowds of Churchill Downs and Santa Anita. Brilliant management at Keeneland led to the attendance in the main building being limited, with satellite locations on the grounds handling the overflow of a total crowd of about 40,000. It was a comfortable event to attend, helped in no small part by the fact that the star of the show was the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. American Pharoah lived up to his billing, turning in a dominant performance to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the final race of his career. The event returned to Keeneland in 2020, but attendance was limited due to the pandemic. Once again, however, the star of the show delivered, as Kentucky Derby winner Authentic capped off his career with a win in the Classic.

Fall Stars Weekend will be featured in two telecasts, to be shown at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday on CNBC. Each day will feature two live races, along with highlights of some of the other “Win and You’re In” races from the weekend.

RELATED: Alpinista overcomes heavy ground to win l’Arc de Triomphe

Saturday storylines at Fall Stars Weekend

On Saturday, the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity will be shown live. The winner will gain entrance to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The likely favorite will be the Todd Pletcher-trained Forte, who was a dominant winner of the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. Pletcher has another interesting prospect in Lost Ark, who is 2-for-2 lifetime, including a runaway win in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth in his last start. Bob Baffert will be shipping in two juveniles for a possible start in the Breeders’ Futurity. Most notable of these is Carmel Road, who captured a maiden race at Del Mar by 8 ½ lengths in his last start. The other possible Baffert starter is National Treasure, who captured a 6 ½ furlong Maiden race at Del Mar in a fast time in his only career start. Another youngster pointed to this race is Frosted Departure, from the barn of Ken McPeek. This one captured an allowance race at Churchill Downs by 9 ¼ lengths last time out.

The other live race on Saturday’s telecast is the Coolmore Turf Mile, which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. This is always a contentious race, and some veteran campaigners who haven’t lost a step highlight this year’s field. One of those vets is the Bill Mott-trained Casa Creed, who won the Fourstardave Stakes at Saratoga in his last start. Major turf races at this time of year frequently feature Chad Brown trainees, and this race is no exception. His top two probables here are Emaraaty, who won the Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga in his last start, and Masen, who won the Poker Stakes at Belmont earlier this year. Paulo Lobo will return with In Love, who won this race last year.  Finally, how about a horse who has been 1st or 2nd in 10 of 12 lifetime starts at 1 mile on turf? That’s trainer Michael McCarthy’s veteran Smooth Like Strait. This one is a wide-open affair with some worthy contenders, to be sure.

RELATED: Mo Donegal rewards team’s confidence at Belmont

Sunday storylines at Fall Stars Weekend

The first live race on Sunday’s telecast from Keeneland will be the Bourbon Stakes, for 2-year-olds on the turf. It is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Some key trainers dominate the storylines in this race. Mark Casse has won the Bourbon Stakes in 4 of its last 7 runnings, and he will run Boppy O, the winner of the With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga in his last start. McPeek is another 4-time winner of the Bourbon. He won last year with Tiz The Bomb, who then went on to finish 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. His 2 probables for the race are Rarified Flair (2nd in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile last out) and B Minor (won a Maiden race on dirt at Churchill Downs in his last start). It also should be noted that North America’s all-time leading trainer in wins, Steve Asmussen, will have two probable entries in Red Route One and Gigante. Red Route One won a Maiden race at Kentucky Downs in his last, while Gigante was the winner of the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Colonial Downs in his last appearance. Finally, there is Brendan Walsh, who seems to always be a factor in Kentucky, and especially in turf races. He presents Reckoning Force, who won that $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile in his last out.

The show-topper on Sunday is the venerable Juddmonte Spinster Stakes. Back in 1984, Princess Rooney posted a win in the Spinster as her final prep before winning the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Other notables who have won this race in their final prep before winning the Distaff include Bayakoa, Paseana, Inside Information and Blue Prize.

This year’s Juddmonte Spinster features a matchup between two of the top females of the past couple of years in Letruska and Malathaat. Letruska won the Spinster last year on her way to an Eclipse Award as top older female dirt horse. This year, she has posted 2 wins and a third in 4 starts. Malathaat won the 2021 Kentucky Oaks and was 3rd in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She enters this race off a win in the Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga.

This weekend presents the final North American “Win and You’re In” opportunities for the Breeders’ Cup. In New York, California, and Kentucky, 14 horses will gain entry into the “Big Dance” of Thoroughbred Racing. Most of us will be getting a case of “Breeders’ Cup Fever” this weekend, as the reality of those races on the first weekend of November draws ever so much closer.

Alpinista overcomes heavy ground to win l’Arc de Triomphe

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PARIS – Alpinista made light work of the rain and heavy ground to narrowly win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Jockey Luke Morris attacked heading into the last furlong and the 5-year-old mare just held off a late charge from Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon on Vadeni and last year’s 80-1 winner Torquator Tasso, ridden by veteran Italian jockey Frankie Dettori.

“I had a beautiful draw in stall six and after being perfectly placed, there was a second when I thought we were getting drawn into it too early,” Morris said. “But once she had taken charge, I was able to sit on her from 100 meters out.”

Morris felt the conditions would have made it harder for Alpinista to attack the way she did.

“I was concerned when all that rain came but the race went very smoothly,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how it could have in a 20-runner Arc. It was incredible.”

Alpinista was among the pre-race favorites.

“If it hadn’t been my horse, I would have thought it was going to win every inch of the way, but when it’s your own of course it’s a nightmare,” Alpinista trainer Mark Prescott said. “I didn’t think all that rain would help, but she’s never traveled better and has come on with each race.”

It was not yet clear if Alpinista will next race at the Breeders’ Cup or the Japan Cup next month.