Gold for the King pours it on in Thunder Rumble repeat

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

By Sarah Mace

Bet down to thirty-five cents on the dollar Sunday to score a repeat victory in Aqueduct’s featured $125,000 Thunder Rumble Division of the New York Stallion Stakes (NYSS), Francis Paolangeli’s homebred Gold for the King didn’t give his backers an anxious moment. Following a confident middle move, the 4-year-old gelding poured it on in the stretch to win the race by more than nine lengths.

A multiple stakes winner by former New York sire Posse, Gold for the King came into the 7-furlong tilt sporting a strong Aqueduct resume – three wins and a second from four starts. Also, the Thunder Rumble was his second start off a freshening from July 26 to October 20. When he returned from the break in the Hudson Handicap on Empire Showcase Day, he finished a beaten favorite, but not by much. Despite an extremely wide trip, the gelding finished second by just three-quarters of a length to Runaway Lute, who will be a serious contender in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight at the Big A on Thanksgiving Day.

Out of the gate cleanly from his outside post in the scratched-down field of five, Gold for the King set up in a perfect stalking position in third, 1 1/2 lengths off pacemaker Tribecca and well off the fence.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Asked for run early on the far turn, with three furlongs to go he drew even with Tribecca and took over the lead around the 5/16ths marker, entering the lane with the race well in hand.

Leaving the rest of the field far in his wake in the stretch, Gold for the King crossed the finish line a 9 1/4-length winner, stopping the clock at 1:24.25. Winston’s Chance, last after a half-mile, closed to win the contest for second, finishing three-quarters of length ahead of Sudden Surprise. Next across the line were pacesetter Tribecca and Loki’s Vengeance. Winner of the Thunder Rumble in 2015 and 2016 Loki’s Vengeance was coming off a layoff of nearly seven months. Benevolence, Fleet Irish and My Boy Tate were scratched.

Joel Rosario who has ridden Gold for the King six times before, including two prior stakes victories, felt everything went according to plan.

“It was a good trip,” Rosario said. “He broke well, and it looked like a couple of them were trying to challenge for the lead a little bit. I just wanted to be in a stalking position, where I was, and then I took control in the turn. Before turning for home, he just took the lead by himself. He was just the best horse in the race.”

Trainer Charlie Baker, said, “He did it comfortably, which I think he was supposed to do. He pretty much had this field over a barrel. We thought if he was okay for this and, if he was healthy, he would win. Thankfully, it worked out. He’s always dependable and gives an ‘A’ effort.”

Baker added, “[Gold for the King] needed this race to get back into the swing of things. After his defeat in the Hudson, we wanted to get his confidence back.”

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Francis Paolangeli’s homebred has won five stakes: the lucrative New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes and Aqueduct’s Notebook Stakes as a juvenile, the NYSS Thunder Rumble and NYSS Times Square at three and, this year, his second Thunder Rumble. With an overall record of seven wins, four seconds and two thirds from 18 starts, his earnings bankroll sits at a robust $658,559.

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. who was campaigned by Paolangeli and trained by Baker.

Gold for the Queen currently has a juvenile colt by Frost Giant named True Gold who finished second in this year’s New York Breeders’ Futurity and a weanling filly by Super Saver named Goldforthelady. She has been bred to Overanalyze.

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