LEXINGTON, Ky. — Golden Pal was back to his old self from the starting gate at his home track Saturday when streaking to a successful title defense in the $315,175 Woodford S. (G2) at Keeneland.
Compared to his two most recent starts at Royal Ascot and Saratoga, in which he was off slowly, Golden Pal broke on top and was never headed in the Woodford. Dashing an opening quarter-mile in :21.25 and a half-mile in :43.42, Golden Pal opened up by three lengths in mid-stretch and won in hand by 1 1/2 lengths under Irad Ortiz Jr.
“Every time he runs you get kind of nervous because he’s so exceptional,” said trainer Wesley Ward, who trains the four-year-old for the Coolmore partnership. “We’re really excited now to get on to the Breeders’ Cup. Twenty-eight days from today, we’ll be ready to roll.”
Golden Pal covered 5 1/2 furlongs over firm turf in 1:01.39 and paid $2.74. Oceanic finished second by a nose over Artemus Citylimits, who had a half-length on Bad Beat Brian and Gear Jockey, who finished in a dead heat for fourth. Charcoal, All in Sync, County Final, and Cadamosto rounded out the order of finish.
The Woodford was the fourth win in as many outings at Keeneland for Golden Pal, who has now won eight of 12 starts overall. In addition to two prior wins at the Breeders’ Cup, in the 2020 Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) at Keeneland and 2021 Turf Sprint (G1) at Del Mar, Golden Pal has also notched the Shakertown (G2) at Keeneland as well as the Troy (G3) and Quick Call (G3) at Saratoga. Of his four losses, one was on dirt in his debut and the other three were in England.
Bred in Florida by Randall Lowe, Golden Pal is by Uncle Mo and out of the turf sprint star Lady Shipman, by Midshipman.