Queen on Hand as Ascot Ushers in New Era
Photo: AP/Alastair Grant
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks out from the new royal box on the first day of the annual Royal Ascot race meeting at Ascot, England.
With Queen Elizabeth II in attendance, Royal Ascot officially reopened Tuesday after nearly two years of renovations.

In the day's biggest races, Araafa cruised to victory in the St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I), American-bred Ad Valorem took the Queen Anne (Eng-I), and Takeover Target won the King's Stand Stakes (Eng-II).

Araafa, the favorite trained by Jeremy Noseda, won the one-mile St. James's Palace by two lengths over Stormy River, with Ivan Denisovich finishing third.

Ridden by Alan Munro, Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Araafa played a waiting game behind Arabian Prince. When Arabian Prince began to tire with about a quarter-mile to go, Munro eased his colt into the lead.

"It was a great performance. He keeps progressing, and his work has improved again since Ireland," Noseda told BBC. "I was just a little edgy, hoping he would show that on the race course today, and I think we saw that."

A 3-year-old Irish-bred son of Mull of Kintyre, Araafa races for Saleh al Homaizi and Imad al Sagar.

In the Queen Anne, Ad Valorem was ridden strongly two furlongs from the finish in the mile straight race and won by 1 1/2 lengths. The 4-year-old son of Danzig out of Classy Woman withstood a stewards inquiry and, although the outcome did not change, his jockey, Kieren Fallon was suspended for four days.

Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Ad Valorem was bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm and races for Mrs. John Magnier and R. W. Ingham.

Takeover Target, ridden by Jay Ford, narrowly held off Benbaun, with Pivotal Point third in the King's Stand. Takeover Target may attempt a double by taking the other major sprint race, the Golden Jubilee, at the end of the six-day meet.

"He's a tough little horse, but it's taken a little bit out of him and we'll see how he pulls up," trainer Joe Janiak said.

Raced by J. and B. Janiak, the 7-year-old son of Celtic Swing was bred in Australia by Meringo Stud Farm.

Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Electrocutionist, owned by the Godolphin Racing, heads a seven-horse field for Wednesday's Prince of Wales's Stakes (Eng-I).

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