Mrs. John ‘Susan' Magnier's GOLDEN PAL made short work of his five rivals, taking them gate to wire to score on Thursday's $120K Quick Call Stakes (G3) at Saratoga Racecourse for Opening Day.
The Wesley A. Ward trainee was making his first start in over eight months, where he had won the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) at Keeneland last November.
"He's doing really well. We're excited about him." trainer Ward said.
"I think he'll be the best horse I ever had, but we'll see if it comes out that way. He does things in the mornings that are just so impressive." (James, Burn RacingPost)
Sent off at odds of $0.20-to-win and ridden by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., GOLDEN PAL broke alertly and immediately seized the lead, showing the way, in-hand, through opening quarters of 21.92 and 44.88.
"He's a nice horse. I'm happy he came back where he left off," jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said. "He broke really nice for me. When I asked him, he responded really well. I didn't want to ask too early. I didn't want him to do too much, he's been off for a long time." (Byron King, BloodHorse)
GOLDEN PAL galloped strongly through the backstretch and into the turn-for-home. When roused, he responded instantly, accelerating to four-length lead and drawing clear before being geared down late. OMAHA CITY closed well for second, JAXON TRAVELED ran on for third. The final time for the five and a half furlongs on turf was 1:02.99.
GOLDEN PAL paid $2.40 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. He is by UNCLE MO out of LADY SHIPMAN out of MIDSHIPMAN. He's now 2-for-2 at the Spa with earnings pushed to $659,056.
"He's just an immensely talented horse and we're looking forward to getting his season started here at Saratoga on Opening Day. Hopefully that leads into the Breeders' Cup at the end of the year." Ward said.
Source: Equibase, James Burn, RacingPost, Byron King, BloodHorse