Gold for the King back to “old ways” in NYSS Thunder Rumble

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

NYRA/Alysse Jacobs

By Sarah Mace

Francis Paolangeli’s homebred Gold for the King had a banner juvenile campaign last year, winning three of six starts, including the lucrative Breeders’ Futurity and Notebook Stakes. This year, after an auspicious start with a victory in the New York Stallion Stakes (NYSS) series Time Square division in April, the gelding finished well off the board in three of four subsequent starts.

On Wednesday, in the NYSS Thunder Rumble (rescheduled from November 19 when racing was cancelled at Aqueduct due to high winds), the “old” Gold for the King was back in full force, romping by more than seven lengths in the 7-furlong tilt for eligible New York-sired horses three and up.

“He’s always been a good horse,” said winning trainer Charlie Baker. “Last race, he had a lot of excuses. He looked good coming into the race, so I thought he’d run back to his old ways. He did it pretty comfortably. It was pretty much what we wanted to see. It was good to see him come back to his form.”

Drawn in the one-hole and sent off under Joel Rosario as the 5-2 second choice in the field of seven, Gold for the King stumbled slightly after the break and spent the opening quarter mile in sixth chasing early pacesetter and favorite Loki’s Vengeance who had gunned to the front from his outside post.

Gaining ground later the backstretch, by the far turn Gold for the King had made up the deficit at the rail and hooked up with Loki’s Vengeance to his outside.

After vying with his rival through the turn, Gold for the King gained control in upper stretch and never looked back, opening up at will to win by 7 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:26.12.

Sudden Surprise, near the pace throughout, got the place, while Fleet Irish closed from last to finish third. Loki’s Vengeance had to settled for fourth, followed by Cloud Control, Nobody Move and Becker’s Galaxy. [VIDEO REPLAY]

“It was great,” said Rosario. “He broke OK. Then he stumbled a little bit. I had to tap him. But, there was not a lot of speed. On the backside, he wanted to get up there. It looked like they weren’t going very fast, so I just let him be up there. He just pinned his ears and was looking around.

“I was just trying to keep my spot, hold my position. He caught up with the horses very quick and I was there so I just kind of kept my position there. He is a big horse. He grabbed the bridle and took off. I was on the inside of the horse on the lead [Loki’s Vengeance]. I already got his spot, so I just had to be there and keep improving my position.”

Added Baker, “They weren’t going that fast, and it was inside, so you didn’t want to get trapped in there. I think Joel [Rosario] did the right thing trying to move up, because you don’t want to get trapped. Being in the 1-hole, it wasn’t the greatest post, but he did a great job.”

Baker plans to give Gold for the King plenty of time between races for now, indicating that he might not make his next start until January. Baker also commented on “Gold’s” affinity for Aqueduct, where he is three-for-three. “He likes it here, so we’ll keep shipping him over until he shows he doesn’t like it.”

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia and now a $470,371-earner from five wins (including four stakes victories), two second and two thirds, Gold for the King is the second foal and one of two winners out of Gold for the Queen, a New York-bred multiple stakes winner of $239,136 bred by Pegasus Farms Inc., also campaigned by Paolangeli and trained by Baker.

Gold for the Queen currently has a yearling colt by Frost Giant named True Gold, was barren this year and bred to Super Saver in the spring.

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