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McPeek Expects Big Year for Golden Ticket

31 January 2009: Trainer Ken McPeek at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida.

Golden Ticket was nominated for the Donn after his sharp 2013 debut at Gulfstream last weekend, but the Ken McPeek-trained 4-year-old isn’t expected to be asked to run back with only two weeks rest.

The son of Speightstown, though, looked like he could be a force in the handicap division this year while winning a stakes-caliber optional allowance race last Saturday by more than five lengths. Golden Ticket, whose only previous wins in 13 starts came in a maiden test at Gulfstream last February and a dead-heat victory with Alpha in the Travers (G1) at Saratoga, was followed to the wire by O’Prado Again and Rightfully So.

“He’s back. He’s a good horse. The Travers isn’t a fluke,” McPeek said.

Golden Ticket had previously finished 11th in the Hollywood Derby (G1) on turf in his 3-year-old finale on Nov. 25.

“It was a test running him on the grass in his last one. We felt like we need to run him in more 3-year-old graded types of stakes,” McPeek said. “Now he’s back on the surface he belongs on. I think it’s going to be a big year for him.”

Things didn’t go as well for the McPeek-trained Frac Daddy in Saturday’s $400,000 Holy Bull (G3), in which he finished sixth. The son of Scat Daddy came out of the nasty gash in the left front foot during the running of the stakes won by Itsmyluckyday.

“I don’t know when he did it, whether he did it coming out or the gate or pulling up,” McPeek said. “He’ll probably miss 4 or 5 days, but it could be as long as two weeks, depending on how sore it is.”



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