LEXINGTON, KY – Ranlo Investments homebred Golden Pal‘s immense talent helped him overcome his greenness to win Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) at Keeneland.
Golden Pal, sent from post 14 as the 4/5 favorite under Irad Ortiz Jr., broke like a shot and was immediately a multiple-length leader after just a few steps into stride.
Ortiz Jr. had to tap the brakes and settle Golden Pal, who veered a bit as he neared the far turn, and momentarily allowed his rivals to close rank.
Once he was allowed to run again, however, Golden Pal quickly took off and reestablished a lengthy advantage by the time the field straightened for home.
Though he appeared to grow a bit leg-weary late, Golden Pal held on to win by 3/4 of a length, completing the 5 1/2-furlong good turf sprint in 1:02.82 and giving both Ortiz Jr. and trainer Wesley Ward back-to-back race titles.
“He’s a really nice horse,” said Ortiz Jr. “He did the hard job. I just sat on him, waiting for the time to go. He ran great. He really has a lot of potential.”
Cowan outkicked Ubettabelieveit for second by 1 length, while Lipizzaner held off After Five and County Final by a nose and a neck for fourth and fifth, respectively.
Momos, Bodenheimer, Dirty Dangle, Windy City Red, Mighty Gurkha, Second of July, Into the Sunrise, and Blame the Booze completed the order of finish.
Amanzi Yimpilo, Gypsy King (Also Eligible), and Trade Deal (Also Eligible) were scratched.
Golden Pal’s win was his second straight following the Skidmore Stakes and improved his overall record to 4-2-2-0 including a narrow defeat in the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot. The Florida-bred Uncle Mo colt, the first foal out of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) runner-up Lady Shipman, has now earned $593,056.
“He’s just amazing,” Ward said. “I got a little worried on the backside. Irad kind of lost a little momentum there and took a pretty good hold of him, but then he just accelerated down the lane. When he accelerated past the 1/4 pole, I knew we were OK. I got a little worried on the last part and was hugging onto my son, but we got there. He’s a champion colt.”
Golden Pal returned $3.60 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.60 to show. Cowan brought back $8 to place and $5.80 to show, while Ubettabelieveit paid $8.60 to show.