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Skidmore Preview: Golden Pal Back from Royal Ascot
Golden Pal (6) coming a neck short of winning the Norfolk at Royal Ascot (Credit: Ascot Racecourse)

Skidmore Preview: Golden Pal Back from Royal Ascot

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Ranlo Investments’ Golden Pal makes his first start back after a narrow defeat at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet in Friday’s $85,000 Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga.

The Skidmore is a 5 1/2-furlong outer turf sprint restricted to 2-year-olds. This year’s edition is the third event on a nine-race card with a local post time of 2:20 PM.

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Here is a look at the full field for the Skidmore:

1. Sunny Isle Beach 20/1 – The first of three Wesley Ward entries (and the field’s lone filly) broke her maiden on debut over the Churchill Downs dirt while risked for a $75k tag. She runs back protected and her pedigree contains both early speed and a penchant for the turf.

“She’s done everything right,” Ward said. “The race might be a little tough for her, but we’re giving it a shot.”

2. Baytown Bear 30/1 – He broke his maiden at fourth asking while stretching out to route for the first time, then finished second a month later in his turf sprint debut. Dylan Davis takes the mount for trainer Paul McEntee, whose barn makes its 2020 Saratoga debut in this spot.

3. Kentucky Knight 30/1 – Trainer Amira Chichakly pushes him into the deep end for his career debut with just three recorded works under his belt. In order to win his debut, he’ll have to overcome his pedigree’s lack of win-early potential: none of his five older siblings won as juveniles (16 combined starts).

4. Sky’s Not Falling 5/1 – The Mike Trombetta trainee won his debut while sprinting on the Delaware Park dirt, then finishied third in the Hansel Stakes over Colonial Downs’ main track. He recently worked 3 furlongs in :36.60 over the Fair Hill synthetic training course and has a pair of half-siblings who’ve won turf sprints, so he should handle the new surface.

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5. Fauci 8/5 – Ward’s second representative is also the only one to have a turf victory on his resume, having broken his maiden over a yielding Keeneland lawn on July 9 in his second career start. Tyler Gaffalione, the only rider he’s ever known, rides back yet again for a barn that excels with juveniles (27% winners) and turf sprints (23%).

“I was impressed with how he ran on the soft turf at Keeneland,” Ward said. “I’ve seen in the past where a horse goes 58 and change and then backs out. For him to take that heat up front and still go on with it was nice to see. He has heart and he has will.”

6. Golden Pal 3/5 – The third Ward entry is still a maiden, but just barely: he lose his debut by 3/4 of a length at Gulfstream Park, then missed winning the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot by just a neck. The Uncle Mo colt picks up the services of the meet’s leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., and has worked consistently over the local training turf course all month.

“He is a very, very special colt,” Ward said. “He is really an amazing horse, and if he keeps moving on up, I think he could really be something. He’s done everything right and he’s just extremely, extremely gifted.”

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