With a name like Goldencents, you might expect the protagonist in this story to be surrounded by Bentleys, martinis shaken not stirred, supervillains, and Bond girls, but not so. This hero makes 007 look as slow as a senior citizen trying to use an iPad for the first time. Generally speaking, a 5 ½ furlong maiden race on Del Mar’s synthetic surfaced main track is no way to prepare for the cross-country competition of the historic Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, but that is exactly how Goldencents was thrust into the fire.
Taking on the East’s most important mile for juveniles, and the East’s most highly regarded young colts for that matter, Goldencents was about as conspicuous on the Champagne program as an Amish person at South Beach. It wasn’t that his debut performance was not strong, quite the contrary. The son of Into Mischief made his first start look easy. Without the aid of any high-tech spy gadgets, Goldencents outclassed his maiden competition to the tune of a 7 ¼ length romp. The arrival of the colt with the intriguing name had come as no surprise to the surf and turf railbirds, who pounded the first-time starter down to 8-5 for his unveiling. Apparently his morning moves were less than clandestine.
Owned by W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney & RAP Racing, and trained by Doug O’Neill, Goldencents was a tenth of a second from breaking the track that early September day at Del Mar, so maybe it should not have been such a surprise to see him in the Grade 1 Champagne, but still, how often do you see a horse attempting what he did? Into the fire, but far from burned, the inexperienced invader from the left coast actually ran as smooth as one of Bond’s best cars.
With pilot Kevin Krigger along for the ride, Goldencents took it right to his opposition from the opening bell, just as the pair had done in sunny California. Making all the pace, he led the promising field through sensible fractions of :23.55, :47.45, and 1:11.21, with heavily favored, and the far more experienced, Shanghai Bobby close in tow. The rest of the Champagne story does not go the way Goldencents supporters may have hoped, but his second place performance was good enough to finish clear of a trio of well-liked colts in Fortify, Archwarrior, and Micromanage. His final time was also noticeably faster than the Grade 1 Frizette fillies, was run that same afternoon.
Of course we all know what Shanghai Bobby did in his next start, raising his perfect record to 5-for-5 with a championship clinching win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, thereby underscoring the impressive trip to New York for Goldencents. For him, though, there was no Breeders’ Cup, as the $62,000 OBS two-year-old in training purchase was not nominated to the World Championships.
So what’s next for the colt that has done so much in his initial two starts? Why, a trip to Louisiana and Delta Downs, of course. The Jackpot beckons, and Goldencents will travel.
Saturday’s $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot is shaping as one of the best juvenile races of the year. With the likes of Know More, Bern Identity, Hightail, Central Banker, and Itsmyluckyday set to square off, it should be a real contentious affair, but the horse they will all have to beat is Cents … Goldencents.