July 20, 2024

Golden Pal scores early knockout in Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

Golden Pal with Irad Ortiz riding wins the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar Race Track (Photo by Horsephotos)

The competition knew Golden Pal was fast heading into Saturday’s $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Del Mar, but most weren’t expecting a knockout so early.

So swift leaving the gate that he was up nearly a couple of lengths within a furlong, Golden Pal ran his 11 Turf Sprint rivals ragged. Comfortably turning back in the stretch the only rival who could come close, Lieutenant Dan, Golden Pal won by 1 1/4 lengths while scorching five furlongs on firm ground in :55.25

“He’s got the title – he’s the best horse (I’ve ever trained),” said trainer Wesley Ward, who’s saddled the three-year-old to five wins in eight starts, including two Breeders’ Cup scores. “He’s mature and he has so much upstairs, as well. He has so much natural ability. What a horse.” 

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. for the Coolmore connections, Golden Pal paid $7 as the 5-2 favorite.

Lieutenant Dan, in second place throughout the dash, finished 3 1/2 lengths clear of the mare Charmaine’s Mia, who won a photo for third over the Europeans Emaraaty Ana and A Case of You. Completing the order of finish were Gear Jockey, Kimari, 2020 Turf Sprint winner Glass Slippers, Extravagant Kid, Chaos Theory, Fast Boat, and Caravel.

Victorious in last year’s Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) at Keeneland, Golden Pal joins Zenyatta, Beholder, Secret Circle, and Stephanie’s Kitten as the only horses to win two different Breeders’ Cup events.

Second in his first two starts last year, including the Norfolk (G2) at Royal Ascot, Golden Lad broke his maiden in the Skidmore S. at Saratoga before landing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Resuming this season in the July 15 Quick Call (G3) at Saratoga, Golden Pal won by three lengths. However, he wilted to seventh in the Nunthorpe (G1) at York in a return to England, but bounced back with a victory against older rivals in last month’s Woodford (G2) at Keeneland.

With this Turf Sprint triumph, Golden Pal avenged the neck loss by his dam, Lady Shipman, in the 2015 edition of the race held at Keeneland. Golden Pal is by Uncle Mo, the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner and champion.

Bred in Florida by Randall Lowe, Golden Pal has now earned $1,299,056.