10/03/2012 3:39PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Goldencents looks to earn his way into race

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Goldencents, with jockey Kevin Krigger up, was a 7 1/4-length winner of his debut at Del Mar. He runs in Saturday’s Grade 1 Champagne.

Saturday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park is a Win and You’re In race in more ways than one for Goldencents.

The winner of the Champagne earns an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita with pre-entry fees paid and a $10,000 travel stipend provided by the Breeders’ Cup.

But Goldencents is not nominated to the Breeders’ Cup, and his connections would have to pay to supplemental fee to that 1 1/16-mile race.

“He’d have to put up a real good performance – which I think he will – but anything short of that we’d probably pass the Breeders’ Cup and go another route,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, who trains Goldencents for W C Racing, Dave Kenny, and RAP Racing.

Goldencents was extremely impressive winning his debut at Del Mar on Sept. 2. Jockey Kevin Krigger barely moved a muscle on the colt as he won by 7 1/4 lengths, running 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.79. He was the 8-5 favorite in a field of 10.

“Kevin Krigger had been breezing him all the way up to that race, and he was really in love with him,” O’Neill said. “He put a lot of pressure on all of us going into that debut, and he exceeded all of our expectations. He ran just dynamite.”

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Stretching out from 5 1/2 furlongs to a one-turn mile doesn’t bother O’Neill, who will be at Belmont for the race, his first appearance in New York since I’ll Have Another scratched out of the Belmont Stakes before he could bid for the Triple Crown.

“He’s built like a horse that should get better with distance,” O’Neill said. “I don’t think the one-turn mile should be anything but an asset really.”

The Champagne will be a stern test for Goldencents. He will face the undefeated Hopeful winner Shanghai Bobby and Hopeful runner-up Fortify as well as the highly touted debut winner Archwarrior. Micromanage, another debut winner at Saratoga, was entered in the Champagne and the Dover Stakes at Delaware Park. His connections will assess both fields before determining where to run. Others in the Champagne include Chief Havoc and Bern Identity.

Should Goldencents not prove himself enough to move on to the Juvenile, O’Neill will still be represented by Know More, runner-up to Power Broker in last weekend’s FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita.

“He came out of it in good shape, he got a little bit tired, which wasn’t completely unexpected watching the races at Santa Anita,” O’Neill said. “He’ll move forward off that. I’ll keep him here to train, and he’ll be locked and loaded come Breeders’ Cup.”