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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017

O'Neill Says Goldencents 'Locked and Loaded'

Doug O’Neill will be in New York Saturday to give Mike Smith a leg up on 2013 Santa Anita Derby winner and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents in the $1,250,000, Grade I Metropolitan Mile.

Goldencents has not raced since finishing seventh in the Grade I Cigar Mile at Aqueduct last Nov. 30, but has three bullet works from his last four drills at Santa Anita.

“He’s locked and loaded,” said O’Neill, Santa Anita’s runaway training leader through 24 days of the Spring Meet with 20 victories, eight more than his closest pursuer. “He got a great draw, the four hole, with Palace Malice, the horse to beat, down on the rail.

“Mike has been working him, so he knows him well. I’m just very happy we’re ready to get this thing going now.”

On California Chrome drawing the No. 2 post position for the Belmont: “I don’t think it’s going to make any difference. I just think he’s the best horse. He’s battle-tested and the most mature horse in the field.

“There are a few real talented up-and-comers that are fresh, but I don’t think they’ll know what hit them with California Chrome. He’s running like an older horse; he’ll be hard to beat.”

 

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