Golden Pal was just too fast for his rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, leading from start to finish in a dominant Del Mar display.
From stall three, the Irad Ortiz-ridden horse flew out and moved into the early lead, controlling the fractions before kicking again around the final turn and pulling away for a comfortable victory.
Wesley Ward’s three-year-old had been a disappointment in the UK earlier this year, finishing a well-beaten seventh in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York.
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Lieutenant Dan finished second with Charmaine’s Mia back in third – the closest European finisher was Emaraaty Ana for Kevin Ryan back in fourth, who was well positioned but could never land a glove on the emphatic winner.
Ryan’s 2020 Turf Sprint winner Glass Slippers was retired after the race, after a stellar career that included three Grade One victories.
Glass Slippers wins the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh
Speaking after the race, Ward said: “He’s the best. He’s the best so far. He’s just so fast and now he’s matured, his natural ability is fantastic.
“I’d like to thank Dr McIlroy because we had a little issue with his ankle that kept him off for the first part of the year but he’s the best in equine surgery.
Irad Ortiz Jr rides Life is Good to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
“He does such an amazing job and I said ‘you get right at the front of the picture’ because he’s such an awesome guy.
“What a horse – we’re just getting serious!”
Ce Ce takes the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
There was a shock in the opening race of the evening as odds-on favourite Gamine was only third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, fading in the closing stages behind Edgeway and eventual winner Ce Ce.
Victor Espinoza, jockey of Ce Ce, sat off the hot early pace and took charge in the final two furlongs when the early leaders, including second-favourite Bella Sofia, faded away.
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In the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Life Is Good was much too good for his rivals, giving jockey Ortiz a second Grade One of the evening with another comfortable success.
The three-year-old – trained by Todd Pletcher – was pestered early on by Pingxiang, but put that challenger to bed and had enough in the tank to sprint clear again in the final stages, with Ginobili back in second.