Golden Pal Impressive In G2 Woodford
After a blip in his last start, Golden Pal (3c Uncle Mo x Lady Shipman, by Midshipman) was back to his best in Saturday’s Grade II Woodford Stakes with a 2 ¼ length victory.
Taking on a group that included Grade I winner Extravagant Kid, Golden Pal showed his speed to immediately take control of the race in the 5 ½ furlong race. With John Velazquez aboard, Golden Pal cruised during the early part of the race.
Stakes winner Firecrow tried to put the pressure on the Coolmore and Westerberg-owned colt but after a brief tussle, Golden Pal showed his outstanding turn of foot to pull away for a 2 ¼ length win.
Originally trained by Wesley Ward for breeder Randall Lowe before being purchased by his current connections, Golden Pal has been guided by Ward to four wins and two other top two finishes in seven starts. The colt has won Grade IIs in both his years at the track, taking out the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland last year.
“He was very game,” Velazquez said. “Before the race – I never rode him so I asked Julio (Garcia, his exercise rider). He said, ‘Just put your hands down and he’ll run for you; even if he gets passed he’ll run for you.’ I left him alone and when the other horse came to him and put the head in front, I was like, ‘Hey, we got to come back and run.’ I got after him, and he gradually got away from the other horse. It took me two or three jumps to engage him back into the race, and after that he was pretty good.”
Future Coolmore stallion Golden Pal is out of Grade III winner and multiple stakes winner Lady Shipman, who ran second in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint – the same race Golden Pal earned a spot in today. Lady Shipman is also a full sister to multiple stakes-placed runner Just Talkin.
Lady Shipman returned to Uncle Mo this breeding season and is carrying a full sibling to her multiple Grade II winner.