Eyes potential Breeders’ Cup start
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Ranlo Investments’ Golden Pal surged to the front and drew away in the stretch, posting an impressive 3 ½-length score in a gate-to-wire victory in Friday’s $85,000 Skidmore for juveniles at Saratoga Race Course.
After a runner-up effort by a neck in his turf debut last out in the Group 2 Norfolk on June 19 at England’s Royal Ascot, Golden Pal shipped back to the United States and entered the sixth running of the Skidmore off three strong breezes at Saratoga. That momentum carried over into the afternoon, where Golden Pal broke sharp from the outermost post 6 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, leading the field through an opening quarter-mile in 21.99 seconds and the half in 44.37 on the Mellon turf course labeled firm.
Out of the turn, Golden Pal opened up even more while never seriously challenged, completing 5 ½ furlongs in a final time of 1:00.88 [challenging the track record of 1:00.21 set by Carotari in August 2019].
“He’s a really cool horse,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “It’s special when you get on horses like that. I’m so happy to be able to get on him. Hopefully he stays sound and healthy and he can keep doing what he did today.”
Golden Pal, the 2-5 favorite, returned $2.90 on a $2 win wager and improved his career earnings to $73,056. Trainer Wesley Ward said the effort could set up the Uncle Mo colt for a spot in the Grade 2, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint going 5 ½ furlongs on November 6 at Keeneland, where Ward is primarily stabled.
“He’s something special, this guy. I think we just got a little peek at it,” Ward said. “From everything we’ve seen here, they’re coming into his homecourt like Michael Jordan in the United Center in the Breeders’ Cup this year. He’s a very, very nice colt. I’m very thankful for the owner.
Bred in Florida by Randall E. Lowe, who operates under the nom de course Ranlo Investments, Golden Pal made his career debut on April 17 over Gulfstream Park’s main track, running second to Gatsby before traveling to the prestigious Royal Ascot meet two months later, where he led the field before The Lir Jet won in the final jumps. He is out of 11-time stakes-winning turf sprinter Lady Shipman, who was also bred and campaigned by Lowe.
“[The owner] afforded me the time that myself and my team has needed, and this horse had some issues and my team has really worked hard on this guy,” Ward said. “He’s so fast and he’s so gifted. To get him to this point is special.”
Ward trained the exacta, with Fauci finishing four lengths clear of Sky’s Not Falling for second. Sunny Isles Beach, also trained by Ward, ran fourth, followed by Kentucky Knight and Baytown Bear.
“My horse broke good but the other horse [Golden Pal] had more speed, so I wasn’t going to go up there and battle head and head,” said Fauci jockey Tyler Gaffalione. “He settled nicely and put in a nice run down the lane, but the other horse was much the best today.
“He’s [Golden Pal] pretty quick. He’s a nice horse,” Gaffalione added. “I rode him in his first start and he’s a really fast horse, but it seems like he’s starting to get the mental side of it now.”
2020 Skidmore Replay
Live racing resumes Saturday at Saratoga with a 10-race card that includes the Grade 1, $400,000 Fourstardave for 3-years-old and up going one mile on the inner turf in Race 9 at 5:46 p.m. Eastern. First post is 1:10 p.m.
Saratoga Entries for Saturday, August 22
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Golden Pal wins the 2020 Skidmore at the Spa. Credit: Coglianese Photo/Chelsea Durand