Golden Pal is all systems go for a second tilt at the Breeders’ Cup after getting back on track at Keeneland last weekend, in preparation for a trip to Del Mar.
Golden Pal has been a superb sprinter for the yard having been unleashed to British viewers when finishing an extremely close second in the Group Two Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, just being beat by the Michael Bell trained The Lir Jet.
He was set for the Nunthorpe at York in 2020 after that event but instead was kept in America where he went on to land a Stakes contest in taking style.
That set him up perfectly for the Breeders' Cup meeting where he took on a strong field of 13 runners and coming from a horrible draw he managed to clear away from the field at Keeneland to land the Grade Two Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Having suffered a slight setback he missed the King's Stands Stakes at Royal Ascot but instead was then seen winning the Group Three Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga.
His season to date has been set up for a crack at the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York, and having flew out the gates and looking at one stage the one to beat, he ultimately blew up and was well beaten by many in the field.
Looking to get back on track, Ward sent him to his local track Keeneland at the weekend and he looked back to his best and now he is set to go for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November.
Ward said: “It was such a great disappointment for me in York. I really was very, very confident there and for whatever reason it just didn’t materialise.
“I hold that course (York) in such high regard, I thought we had the horse and I had my rider (Frankie Dettori) on, but I just can’t figure it out. That race eludes me, but we’re going to get there one of these years!
“If I didn’t hold Golden Pal in such high regard, I would have just chalked it up as an ‘oh well, we gave it a try and we didn’t win’, but this horse is just so special.”
Ward was happy to see his star sprinter take up different tactics at the weekend, not needing to motor from the front like he has previously.
He added: “He showed a (different) dimension as Johnny (Velazquez) just dropped his hands when he came out of the gate and then he got passed,” the trainer added.
“Johnny never really moved and then he just kind of shook the reins to him and the horse just took off. I was really proud of him to see him to do that.
“We’re looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup. I think he’s going to love Del Mar. It’s not that he doesn’t handle a little give in the track at all, but his weapon is his speed and when you get a fast or firm course, he’s going to be a bear!”