June 24, 2024

Just One Time, Golden Pal, Prevalence star on Blue Grass Day

Just One Time wins the Madison (Photo by Coady Photography)

The victory by Just One Time in Saturday’s $439,850 Madison S. (G1) at Keeneland hardly came as a surprise to bettors, who sent off her as the 2-1 favorite. It was more the manner in which she won, turning in a late kick that beat even one of the best closing mares in the business, Bell’s the One.

After breaking slow, Just One Time found herself near the tail of the field, ahead of only Bell’s the One as a scrum up front produced a solid pace of :22.11 and :44.50. Bell’s the One commenced a wide rally on the turn, thus leaving Just One Time the challenge of passing all nine of her rivals in the final quarter-mile.

The once-beaten filly did just that under Flavien Prat, wearing down Bell’s the One by three parts of a length. Just One Time covered seven furlongs over a muddy track in 1:22.79 and paid $6.60 for owners Warriors Reward LLC, which bred the four-year-old daughter of Not This Time, and Commonwealth New Era Racing.

“It’s not ideal,” said trainer of Brad Cox of Just One Time’s slow-starting tendencies in her two outings since joining the barn last year. “We’d like to break and be a little more involved. That’s how she was before she came to us.”

Just One Time also overcame a slow break in her debut for Cox, in the Jan. 29 Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream, and won for the sixth time in seven starts in the Madison. She was previously based in her home state of Pennsylvania with trainer Michael Salvaggio, for whom she won state-bred stakes at Presque Isle Downs and Penn National.

Now an earner of $525,195, Just One Time was reared by Ida Clark, a daughter of Speightstown who has also produced the stakes-winning Black Stetson.

Bell’s the One, who has now placed in the last three editions of the Madison, finished three lengths clear of 2021 Madison winner Kimari. Lady Rocket, Four Graces, Cilla, Club Car, Kalypso, and Center Aisle completed the order of finish.

Shakertown S. (G2)

It was another blink-and-you-miss-it performance by two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Golden Pal, who scorched the opposition in the $317,657 Shakertown S. (G2) under Irad Ortiz Jr.

The reigning Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner, who captured the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) and 2021 Woodford (G2) in two prior runs at Keeneland, handled the ground, officially rated good after several days of wet weather, as if it were lightning quick.

Well on top after a furlong, Golden Pal zipped an opening quarter in :20.94 and a half-mile in :43.58. He didn’t slow down, opening his advantage to 4 3/4 lengths at the line while finishing up 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.21.

“This is the fastest of the fast,” trainer Wesley Ward said. “He moves like a cat, he’s so quick. Once in a lifetime horse.”

Owned by Coolmore, Golden Pal returned $3.20 as the 3-5 favorite. Johnny Unleashed, a 70-1 chance, raced in second throughout and was followed by Gear Jockey, Diamond Oops, The Lir Jet, Just Might, Barranza, Natural Power, Chess Master, and Filo Di Arianna.

This was the sixth win in nine starts for Golden Pal, whose other stakes wins include the 2020 Skidmore S. and 2021 Quick Call (G3), both at Saratoga.

Golden Pal in June will make a third trip to England, for the King’s Stand (G1) at Royal Ascot, Ward confirmed. Golden Pal was beaten a neck by The Lir Jet in the Norfolk (G2) at the 2020 Royal meeting, and last August finished a disappointing seventh in the Nunthorpe (G1) at York.

Bred in Florida by Randall Lowe, Golden Pal is by Uncle Mo and out of fleet turf sprinter Lady Shipman, by Midshipman. He’s bankrolled $1,473,431.

Commonwealth S. (G3)

Trainer Brendan Walsh won three of the first five races at Keeneland on Saturday, the biggest being the $300,000 Commonwealth S. (G3) with the Godolphin homebred Prevalence.

The 5-2 second choice, Prevalence stalked 13-10 favorite Nashville down the backside, bid on the turn and began to edge past that tiring foe turning for home, and then held his opposition safe by 2 1/4 lengths under Tyler Gaffalione.

“He does everything so easily,” said Gaffalione, who rode Prevalence’s half-brother, Emirates Road, to a maiden win earlier in the afternoon. “He has such a high cruising speed. I still had plenty left (in the stretch).”

Prevalence completed seven furlongs over a sloppy strip in 1:22.47 and paid $7. Long Range Toddy, a 45-1 chance, held second by a head over the late-arriving O Besos. The order of finish was rounded out by Surveillance, South Bend, Three Technique, Manny Wah, Endorsed, Atoka, and Nashville, who faded badly down the lane.

The Commonwealth was the first stakes victory for Prevalence, a four-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro and the Ghostzapper mare Enrichment, a full sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Better Lucky. Although a convincing winner of his first two starts early in his three-year-old season, he went unplaced in two later stakes attempts, the Wood Memorial (G2) and Pat Day Mile (G2).

Out of action from last May until Feb. 5, Prevalence finished fifth in his allowance comeback at Gulfstream, but rebounded on March 5 to beat second-level allowance foes by 4 3/4 lengths going one mile. He’s now bankrolled $288,225.

Bred in Kentucky, Prevalence is also a half-brother to UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) winner Estihdaaf and descends from 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) heroine Desert Stormer.

Appalachian S. (G3)

Gaffalione won his third race on the card, and trainer Graham Motion his second stakes in as many days, when Spendarella prevailed as a 7-10 choice in the $308,950 Appalachian S. (G2) for three-year-old fillies.

Tracking in close attendance behind the pace-setting Glenall, Spendarella eased past that longshot approaching the turn for home and then kicked on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Dolce Zel.

“She just does everything so easily,” said Motion, who also won the Transylvania (G3) with Sy Dog on Friday’s opening day card. “She makes me look smart.”

Spendarella improved her record to 3-for-3 by covering one mile on the turf in 1:37.41. The Gainesway-owned filly paid $3.40. Following runner-up Dolce Zel under the wire were Skims, Kneesnhips, An Agent Mistake, Glenall, Ouraika, and Tobairitz.

Spendarella, who kicked off her career with a 2 3/4-length maiden tally at Gulfstream in early February, followed up last month with a wire-to-wire, 1 1/2-length tally in the Herecomesthebride (G3). She’s now earned $283,675.

Bred in New York, Spendarella is a Karakontie half-sister to American Oaks (G1) winner Spanish Queen and a full sister the multiple stakes-winning Spanish Loveaffair. All were produced by Spanish Bunny, by Unusual Heat. This is the female family of 1983 champion older male Bates Motel.