Golden Pal looks to match Beholder, Goldikova as three-time Breeders' Cup winners
Speed rules for Golden Pal, who led rivals gate-to-wire winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) and Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) the last two seasons, and the four-year-old seeks to become only the third horse to capture three Breeders’ Cup races when lining up for a title defense in the $1 million Turf Sprint at Keeneland on Nov. 5.
The significant achievement would put him in lofty company. Four-time champion Beholder, a 16-time stakes winner and earner of more than $6.1 million, won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) twice and a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). European star Goldikova, who counts a pair of Eclipse Awards among her numerous achievements, swept three consecutive editions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) over males.
Golden Pal doesn’t have the same reputation of those Hall of Famers, but don’t sell the top-class colt short. The Florida-bred son of Uncle Mo is unbeaten from eight U.S. stakes attempts, the lone stateside defeat being a second against maiden foes in his April 2020 career debut, and his other three losses came overseas.
Granted, he’s faced top-class competition at Ascot and York, but European racing doesn’t bring out the best in Golden Pal. The bay thrives over tighter American turf ovals, displaying a sharper turn of foot from the starting gate. Golden Pal likes to sprint clear and save something for the stretch drive.
Wesley Ward trains for Westerberg Limited, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor, and Derrick Smith, and 14-time Breeders’ Cup race winner Irad Ortiz Jr. rides.
Golden Pal overcame post 13 when taking the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland, and the speedster relishes the course in Lexington, Kentucky, comfortably winning all four Keeneland starts wire-to-wire.
He will top an expected full field of 14 in the 5 1/2-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Highfield Princess, who blossomed at age five reeling off prestigious Group 1 sprint wins in France, England, and Ireland in her last three outings, is the probable main rival. Other notable international raiders may include Creative Force and Naval Crown, a pair of Group 1-winning sprinters for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby; and Emaraaty Ana and Flotus, who have both placed behind Highland Princess in recent starts.
Expected domestic challengers include Casa Creed, winner of the six-furlong Jaipur (G1) the last two seasons, Churchill Downs Turf Sprint (G2) victor Arrest Me Red, and last-out Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G2) scorer Bran.
The competition has their work cut out for them, as Golden Pal will take some beating on the front end of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.