Troy S. (G3) — Race 9 (5:39 p.m. ET)
World-class turf dasher Golden Pal will look to rebound to more familiar form on Friday afternoon at Saratoga in the $300,000 Troy S. (G3) over 5 1/2 furlongs.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner was breathtaking when taking the April 9 Shakertown (G2) at Keeneland in his season debut. However, a slow start left the Uncle Mo colt reeling in the latter stages of the King’s Stand (G1) at Royal Ascot in mid-June, and the Wesley Ward trainee wound up trailing the field of 16 as the favorite.
Golden Pal is 2-for-2 at Saratoga, having taken the Skidmore S. in 2020 and the Quick Call (G3) last season.
Few in the Troy presumably have the speed to keep up with Golden Pal early, but will attempt to close the gap late to the best of their ability. The veteran eight-year-old True Valour captured the King Leatherbury S. at Laurel back in April following a 13-month break, and then followed up with a solid third-place run in the Jaipur (G1).
“He’ll have to run back to that race to compete with Wesley’s horse, who is very good,” trainer Graham Motion said. “But this is a race we circled a while ago and we’ll stick to our guns. I couldn’t be happier with how he’s coming up to the race.”
Carotari, the 2021 Troy runner-up, captured the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico two back, while Spycraft enters off back-to-back wins since joining the Joe Sharp barn. Arzak tends to do best on synthetic surfaces, but exits a second-place finish in the Highlander (G2) over the Woodbine turf.
National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. (G2) — Race 8 (5:05 p.m. ET)
Also looking to bounce back from a poor last race is Tiz the Bomb, who heads the field in the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. (G2) for three-year-olds at one mile on the turf. Returning to the grass for the first time since last fall’s Breeders’ Cup in the July 9 Belmont Derby (G1), Tiz the Bomb made no impact when finishing ninth of 12.
The trailer in the Belmont Derby was Stolen Base, who had previously captured the American Turf (G2) on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard. Others expected to get some play are Double Clutch and Ready to Purrform, second and third, respectively, in the Manila S. at Belmont on July 4.
Wit, a two-time Grade 3-winning sprinter on dirt, will try a new surface and negotiate two turns for the first time on Friday for trainer Todd Pletcher.
“He seemed to really take to the turf,” said Pletcher in regards to Wit’s workout over the turf on the Oklahoma training track July 22. “It seemed pretty clear that he took to it. It was a good strong work and an energetic gallop out. It just seemed that he enjoyed himself out there.”