Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
The last time Golden Ticket ran in a 1 ¼ mile race on dirt he dead heated for the win in the million dollar Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Tomorrow night’s $100,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap may hold neither the prestige nor the cold, hard cash of the Mid-Summer Derby, but it could serve as key point in the four-year-old son of Speightstown’s season.
After running a strong second in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster, albeit 6 ¼ lengths behind defending Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Fort Larned, while finishing well clear of a strong cast that included Ron the Greek, Take Charge Indy, and Successful Dan, Golden Ticket looks primed to win his first stakes race of 2013. The Saturday evening feature at Prairie Meadows should also serve as a confidence builder to bigger and better things this fall.
An impressive winner of two optional claimers this year, the Ken McPeek charge has only managed a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in his three graded stakes tries this year. The Foster, though, served notice that Golden Ticket may finally be ready to fulfill some of that promise he flashed last August in the Travers. Since freshened, and working well in Louisville, the dark bay colt looks ready.
Proven tough at the distance, the Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ runner should be extremely tough to handle for the five others in the Prairie Meadows Handicap. While four of the other five, Worldly, Global Stage, Tiz Ready and Red Lead possess representative talent for a $100,000 affair, the truth is, if Golden Ticket runs his race, the rest will only be running for second money. Local star, Terry Thompson, will be in the saddle on Golden Ticket for the first time.
While it’s a long climb from this one to the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 14 weeks, sometimes all a talented horse needs is a little confidence builder to really start rolling. Look for Golden Ticket to pick up that confidence in his short trip through Iowa, which could well lead him to becoming a major force this fall in some very important races.