5 Fast Facts about the Royal Lodge Stakes, a European Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race
1) First held in 1946, the race is named after the Royal Lodge in Great Windsor Park, Berkshire. The Royal Lodge was a country retreat for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and since 2004 it has been the official residence of Prince Andrew.
2) The race was first held at Ascot over five furlongs, but was extended to a mile in 1948, and restricted to colts and geldings in 1987. Switched to Newmarket for one year when Ascot was being renovated 2006, and was permanently moved to Newmarket in 2011.
3) Several Royal Lodge Stakes winners went on to win English Classics the next year. St Paddy (Derby, St Leger) and Royal Palace (2,000 Guineas, Derby) both won two classics. The other subsequent classic winners were Black Tarquin and Cantelo (St Leger); Shirley Heights and Benny the Dip (Derby); Mister Baileys and Frankel (2,000 Guineas).
4) The race has been a “win and you’re in” Breeders’ Cup Challenge race for the Juvenile Turf since 2008, but none of its winners to date have contested the Juvenile Turf. It was also part of the inaugural Road to the Kentucky Derby series in 2012, and this year’s running is part of the first European Road to the Kentucky Derby.
5) The Royal Lodge Stakes was a good prep race for American racing for its 1994 winner Eltish. He finished second to Timber Country in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and the following season finished sixth to Thunder Gulch in the Kentucky Derby.
(Newmarket Racecourse photo courtesy of Newmarket)