Team O’Neill expects Goldencents to make amends in the Santa Anita
Derby after a costly pace duel that resulted in a fourth-place finish in
the San Felipe Stakes. The son of Into Mischief drew post five in a
field of nine.
“It’s a great draw,” said Dennis O’Neill, brother of trainer
Doug O’Neill who was still enjoying a spring break trip with his kids on
Thursday. “He gets to load late and he couldn’t be doing any better.
Hopefully, the race sets up for him.
“You wouldn’t think he’ll get caught up in the same scenario as
he did in the San Felipe. The last two or three weeks he’s relaxed.
We’re cautiously optimistic.”
Dennis had time Thursday morning to communicate via social media
with Rick Pitino, whose Louisville Cardinals are favored to win their
Final Four game against Wichita State in Atlanta Saturday afternoon,
with tip-off prior to Goldencents’ start in the Santa Anita Derby.
Pitino, who races as RAP Racing, owns a small share of
Goldencents but his name is big in marquee value. Other owners are Josh
Kaplan, Glenn Sorgenstein and Dave Kenney.
“We were kind of texting back and forth,” Dennis said of his
exchange with Pitino. “We weren’t talking basketball. I was trying to
keep his mind on horses this morning. It’s an exciting time for him, I’m
sure. It’s got to be. I can’t even imagine how much.
“He just talked about competitive stuff, hoping the horse runs
well. I told him Goldencents is doing really, really well. It would be
great to have Rick along for the ride. Saturday’s a big day for Coach,
that’s for sure.”