2020 – Ranlo Investments homebred Golden Pal’s immense talent helped him overcome his greenness to win the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Grade 2) 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.
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 quarter 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.