On a picture-perfect Friday morning, Sham Stakes winner Goldencents
had his final major drill for the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby a
week from Saturday, going six furlongs on a fast main track in a bullet
It was the fastest of nine moves at the distance, the average
time of which was 1:16.22. Exercise rider Jonny Garcia was aboard the
bay son of Into Mischief, who looks to improve on his disappointing
fourth-place finish last out in the San Felipe Stakes March 9.
“Now all we have to do is stay injury-free and gallop into the
big one,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “Jonny’s been doing just a
brilliant job of trying to slow him down. The horse has been running
well enough that I didn’t put a lot of energy into changing up the
morning activities because he kept running good.
“But after the San Felipe, and how the race didn’t unfold
perfectly and we didn’t get the results we wanted, I figured, you know
what? I really need to start putting some energy into getting him to
slow it down.
“If you’re going to experiment, this is the best time to do it.
That’s why they call these races preps. We’ve got to learn something
now. Hopefully, what we’ve implemented will get the results we want to
see in the Santa Anita Derby. That’s the goal.”
With 29 points in the bank for the Kentucky Derby on May 4,
Goldencents is well positioned to make the cut of 20 starters under the
new qualifying system. The Santa Anita Derby offers 100 points to the
winner, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth.
“Being the first year, no one really knows what to make of it,”
said O’Neill, who was on the verge of possibly winning the Triple Crown
in 2012 with I’ll Have Another until a last-minute injury forced him to
miss the Belmont Stakes and ultimately be retired.
“But I do think you can’t rest on your laurels as a 2-year-old
nowadays,” O’Neill added. “You’ve got to really be productive in these
3-year-old preps. It makes it interesting, and I guess you hope a good
horse doesn’t have to scramble to try to get there.”
Probable for the 76th Santa Anita Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8
miles: Flashback, Garrett Gomez; Hear the Ghost, Corey Nakatani;
Goldencents, Kevin Krigger; Super Ninety Nine, Martin Garcia; Power
Broker, Rafael Bejarano; Tiz a Minister, Joe Talamo; Storm Fighter, Gary
Stevens; and Dirty Swagg, no rider.
In other Santa Anita Derby news:
On Santa Anita Derby Day, Daily Racing Form presents a $750,000
guaranteed Late Pick 4; fans at Santa Anita will be offered a free Santa
Anita Derby T-shirt with paid admission, while supplies last; KROQ
presents Iration in concert; and there will be more than 50
microbrew/craft beer vendors, in addition to Premium Food Trucks.
First post time on Santa Anita Derby Day is 12 noon.