Breeders’ Cup champions draw crowds at Ashford Stud

There has been no shortage of traffic flooding through the high gates of Ashford Stud as breeders are keen to set their sights on the stud’s four new arrivals for 2023.

Among the quartet, two of the new additions hold Breeders’ Cup titles, and breeders have responded fervently to that prized piece of resume. While the turf superstar sprinted Golden Pal (Uncle Mo – Lady Shipman, by Midshipman) boasts the rare distinction of taking home two Breeders’ Cup trophies, his new stud mate Cornice (Quality Road – Wasted Tears, by Najran) justified it “TDN Rising Star”-decent debut last fall when he claimed the GI TVG 2021 Juvenile Breeders’ Cup.

According to Coolmore’s Adrian Wallace, Golden Pal in particular has had a demand almost unlike anything the Coolmore team has seen before as Uncle Mo’s son joins his father at Ashford.

“Golden Pal gets inquiries from every type of breeder around,” Wallace said. “He’s got a really good back book of mares with graded stakes winners and graded stakes producers. He will be one of the most popular horses I have ever sat. He is truly electrifying – both on the circuit and in the breeders’ minds.”

Wesley Ward, who trained Golden Pal to win graded stakes from two to four, had no hesitation in describing the champion as “the fastest of the fast”.

“Wesley Ward leaves you with no impression that he was the best horse he trained — the fastest horse he ever trained — and Wesley trained some pretty good horses,” Wallace said. “I think Golden Pal holds a very special place not only in Wesley Ward’s heart, but also in the heart of his breeder Randy Lowe and in the heart of Coolmore.”

After running second in the G2 Norfolk S. at Ascot as a juvenile, Golden Pal broke his maiden in the Skidmore S. at Saratoga and from there went nearly unbeaten on American soil throughout his career three years. The 2020 GII Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, 2021 GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and back-to-back wins in the GII Woodford S. at Keeneland are highlights from his list of seven graded stakes victories.

Golden Pal’s dam, Lady Shipman, earned nearly $1 million and placed second in the 2015 GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. While her son has followed the successful racehorse lead as a turf sprint specialist, Wallace said she believes Golden Pal will emulate his sire in producing versatile offspring.

“The great thing about Uncle Mo is you have the dirt and turf options,” he explained. “To me, Golden Pal doesn’t really look like a sprinter. I think it was quick because it was brilliant. I think the horse could have been very effective over a mile and on both surfaces. That’s the great thing about Uncle Mo is that [his progeny] they are so versatile. They leave early at two and get better as they get older and also seem to work both here and in Europe.”

Golden Pal and 2022 GI Belmont S. Hero Mo Donegal are both Uncle Mo’s sons who will join the Kentucky stallion ranks next year.

Cornice | Sarah Andrews

Ashford’s other Breeders’ Cup-winning addition, Corniche, was well received by breeders for many of the same reasons as Golden Pal.

“I think everybody wants speed and horses like Corniche and Golden Pal provide that,” Wallace said. “This is the biggest selling point for any stallion. They are the ones that will get you racing early and hopefully get you on the racetrack on the big stage.”

Corniche showed his brilliance long before he hit the starting gate when he went :10 flat at the 2021 OBS Spring Sale and then sold for $1.5 million to Speedway Stables. He earned “Rising Star” honors in his debut for Bob Baffert and then went undefeated in the GI American Pharoah S. and GI TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“I don’t think we’ll ever forget the performance Corniche put on in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,” Wallace said. “He was favored going into the race but people questioned whether he would be able to overcome the wide tie. He gave us no illusions about who was the best horse on the day as he went to a juvenile championship.”

After suffering a career-ending injury at three years old, Corniche retired to Ashford, where his book is now filling up fast as breeders see the talented chestnut up close.

“When you look at the Corniche, you think Quality Road and you think speed,” Wallace said. “He is very similar to his father in that he has the same type of physique and structure to him. He is a balanced horse with a good hip and shoulder on him. He is a moving asset and very easy to be around.”

Bred by Bart Evans and Stonehaven Steadings, Corniche is six-time graded stakes winner Wasted Tears.

Both Corniche and Golden Pal will carry a $30,000 fee in their debut seasons at Ashford Stud.

Click here for previous video features on the new class of new stallions and watch for future editions of the series in the coming weeks.

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