SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Golden Pal entered the grade three Troy Stakes as a heavy favorite Friday afternoon, closing at 1-5 odds to win outright. Golden Pal emerged victorious, but despite being the runaway favorite, the race was anything but a runaway.
Coming down the stretch, Golden Pal ran stride-for-stride with the six-horse, True Valour. Even the seven-horse, Thin White Duke, and the three, Arzak, gained ground late, making for a four-way photo finish.
But Golden Pal showed why the odds were so stacked in his favor, edging out True Valour for the win for trainer Wesley A. Ward, and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
In the winner’s circle, Ward expressed his angst as the race came down the stretch. He knew he had the horse to win; the result was just a bit closer than he expected.
“You’re always concerned, but…I have a lot of confidence in this horse,” said Ward. “He’s certainly the best horse I’ve ever had, and every time we need him, he just proves more and more what a joy it is to be around a special horse like this.”
The win for Ward was his fourth of the season at Saratoga, and Ortiz Jr. earned his jockey leaderboard-best 26th win.