11/01/2013 6:20PM

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile: Goldencents guns to the lead on way to victory

Tom Keyser
Goldencents scores a front-running, 2 3/4-length win in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Goldencents ran his 10 opponents off their feet, taking command in the first turn before gradually widening in a thoroughly dominating performance Friday in the seventh running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

Over a glib main track that favored speed throughout the afternoon, Goldencents put away Broadway Empire approaching the quarter pole and had plenty of cushion in prevailing by 2 3/4 lengths over a late-running Golden Ticket. It was another 3 1/2 lengths back to Brujo de Olleros in third, while Verrazano, the 5-2 favorite, was another 1 1/2 lengths back in fourth.

Goldencents, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred trained by Doug O’Neill, is owned by W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney, and RAP Racing. He returned $9.60 as the second choice after finishing in 1:35.12 over a fast track.

The victory prompted a wild celebration down the steps leading to the Santa Anita winner’s circle among the many partners who own Goldencents. Rick Pitino, the Hall of Fame basketball coach whose University of Louisville squad won the NCAA championship in the spring, is one of the partners but was not in attendance.

“The Breeders’ Cup is the World Series of horse racing,” said a jubilant Glen Sorgenstein, who spoke to NBC Sports on behalf of the owners. “We just won the World Series. Rick, if you’re watching, we won it, brother.”

[BREEDERS' CUP FRIDAY: Video replays and race results]

Goldencents broke from the outside post in a field of 11 and was immediately contesting the lead from just outside of Broadway Empire (post 5), while Verrazano (post 9) was squeezed back a bit behind them. Going into the first turn, Goldencents put his head in front and never trailed thereafter.

“That’s why it was one of my options to send him right away from the gate,” said jockey Rafael Bejarano, adding that he wanted to “take advantage a little bit of the track” favoring front-runners. “But everything was great. I had a good trip, and I had a little pressure in the first turn, but it wasn’t that bad.”

Golden Ticket, ridden by Joel Rosario, was clearly second-best when rallying from 10th to gain second.

The win was the fourth in a Breeders’ Cup event for both Bejarano and O’Neill. Goldencents was the second 3-year-old to win the race, following Caleb’s Posse in 2011 at Churchill Downs.

Goldencents, a bay colt by Into Mischief, won for the fifth time in 12 career starts. Based in Southern California, he won the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in January at Santa Anita and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in April to stamp himself as one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby at nearly 8-1.

But he ran 17th in Derby, then was fifth two weeks later in the Preakness. Rested briefly and regrouped by O’Neill, the colt then ran in three straight major sprint races in California – the Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien, and Santa Anita Sprint Championship – before stretching back out to two turns in the BC Dirt Mile.

“This is what we’d had in mind this summer, to sharpen him up toward this,” O’Neill said.

A field of 13 was entered in the Dirt Mile, but Taptowne was scratched earlier in the day by the state veterinarian, and an also-eligible who could have made the field, Easter Gift, did not make the trip from New York.

After Verrazano, the complete order of finish was Hymn Book, Fed Biz, Pants On Fire, Alpha, Broadway Empire, Holy Lute, and Centralinteligence.

$2 exacta (12-2), $69.80
$1 trifecta (12-2-4), $222.20
$.10 super (12-2-4-10), $83.36
$2 double (4-12), $58.40
$1 pick-3 (7-4-12), $304.60

CinLA More than 1 year ago
Too bad O'Neill didn't grab Bejarano for this horse before. He's obviously this horse's rider.
tim blake More than 1 year ago
at one of the good host sites (Churchill or Belmont), the Dirt Mile is an interesting race. At Santa Anita, it is a filler that should be eliminated if they plan to ruin the Breeders Cup by keeping it in California.
Brenda Benavidez More than 1 year ago
If they do start moving the BC around to different racetracks it shouldnt just be Churchill or Belmont. It shoudl take turns with every racetrack every year: SA, Del Mar, Aqueduct, Saratoga, Belmont, Monmouth, Churchll, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Gulfstream, Golden Gate Fields, etc. It should be randomly taking turns, each year should be a different racetrack for ex, this year it was at SA then it shouldnt come back to SA until it has gone around every racetrack. Get what I mean? Take turns.
Roy Roy More than 1 year ago
Ana More than 1 year ago
It was amazing to watch the speed bias today hopefully tomorrow the playing field will be leveled but not expecting much of a difference on a 24 hour lapse...lol it also makes me think how the "great" queen Z would have faired in a day like this and how tvg never seemed to bring that up at any point today i mean they always find a way to sneak in a Zenyatta moment or memory every big racing day .. I mean the clear 3yo filly Of the year princess of sylmar didnt even manage to beat anybody despite having Defeated royal delta her last race ... Just saying if the breeders cup gave a crap about the fans and racing they would either find a neutral ground to have the championships or build a racetrack for that day alone but that is just wishful thinking on my part i guess take care people
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
THIS JUST IN...Todd Pletcher and Verrazano have just been arrested by police and charged with 1st degree robbery of the American thoroughbred racing public...apparently this was their 3rd offense of the year.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
I have a new found respect for the horse. He actually showed some guts off a horrendous trip.
Tyler Mathis More than 1 year ago
I don't understand what you mean. Pletcher didn't make his horse the favorite, the betting public did. Blame them. You sound disgruntled about this...you wouldn't have wasted YOUR money betting a horse so out of form? Oh surely not...
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Disgruntled? No way...on the contrary I'm just having some fun here Tyler. FYI I have never bet a penny on Verrazano this year, I've actually made some good $ betting against him (KD, Travers). I will miss that.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
All you had to do is look at his previous competition when V had won his races, then look at his competition when he lost, then figure it out in yesterdays BC Mile. One of the worst favorites I have ever seen ....................
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Very true Billy
Brenda Benavidez More than 1 year ago
Im sorry Daniel but.....please dont do that cus....you sound like Mark. xP The horse lost but lets not insult him. :)
Robert Johnson More than 1 year ago
Verrazano, the biggest flop of 2013 3 year old season. And the fools bet her at 5-2.
Suzanne Sugarbaker More than 1 year ago
Verrazano is a colt.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
I thought the two-turn mile should hit Goldencents right between the eyes, and it did, but I was almost spooked by the far outside draw. Luckily, Goldencents broke very sharply and Rafael was able to clear. Then it was "sayonara, slowpokes!" Broadway Empire threatened to bring down the curtain on Golden's show by pressing him too closely, but Golden didn't weaken. I hope Verrazano races next year; I still think he has some great races in him at middle distances.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
You obviously didn't get the memo earlier this week...Verrazano will NOT race again...this was his last race before going off to stud (as if we need more Verrazanos).
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Almost all of Pletcher's are going to stud 2014. Terrible.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Don't know what part the trainer plays in the decisions. Case by case, I'd guess.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
More Than Ready will not stand forever, so we DO need more More Than Readys standing at stud. His line is very valuable and V. is probably his first son to win so many graded races on the dirt beyond a mile.
tim blake More than 1 year ago
you're being sarcastic, right?
Richard Marquez More than 1 year ago
Goldencents and Glen et al,made this Breeder's Cup day a big time effort by all concerned...congrats...
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Goldencents was the clear choice here with the added ground after barely missing in those sprints earlier...great move by jock to get him outta the gate running quickly. Also on the plus side, at least Verrazano will no longer be able to steal people's $$$...at least not on the track.
Richard Marquez More than 1 year ago
East coast flops again...
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Congrats Goldencents, Rafael and Doug. I knew they weren't finished once KK was taken off mount. GC has always been a speed demon uncontrolled thru the derby days by his cocky jock.