04/17/2013 2:48PM

Kentucky Derby: Goldencents learning to relax early during Santa Anita drill

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Doug O'Neill says he is pleased with the way Goldencents is relaxing early and finishing fast during his workouts to get ready for the Kentucky Derby.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Clockers at Santa Anita timed Kentucky Derby hopeful Goldencents working a half-mile in 48.40 seconds on Wednesday.

Trainer Doug O’Neill said that was only part of the story, that Goldencents worked six furlongs in 1:14.40.

Either way, Goldencents, winner of the Santa Anita Derby on April 6, moved closer to a start in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4. The goal of Wednesday’s workout was a continuation of a theme that O’Neill stressed in late March, getting Goldencents to relax in the early part of his workouts.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

The strategy worked in the Santa Anita Derby, when Goldencents stalked the pace and won the race over 1 1/8 miles by 1 1/4 lengths over Flashback. In Wednesday’s workout, Goldencents worked alone under exercise jockey Jonny Garcia.

O’Neill said he thought that Goldencents was able to relax “big time. I saw a relaxed, mature horse that finished up great,” O’Neill said.

He timed Goldencents in 37.20 seconds for the first three furlongs.

Owned by the partnership of Glenn Sorgenstein, Joshua Kaplan, David Kenney, and University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, Goldencents could give O’Neill a second consecutive win in the Kentucky Derby. He won the 2012 running with I’ll Have Another.

O’Neill said that Goldencents will work April 25 before being shipped to Churchill Downs on April 27. Kevin Krigger, the colt’s regular rider, will have the mount in the Kentucky Derby, his first ride in the race.

Baffert undecided about Code West

Code West, sixth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on March 30, is being pointed to the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 11, but trainer Bob Baffert has not completely ruled out a start in the Kentucky Derby.

Through Wednesday, Code West was ranked 22nd in the points standings for the Kentucky Derby. The top 20 earn berths in the Kentucky Derby. Code West could move into the first 20 with potential defections from the race in coming days.

“I’ve got to make a decision in the next week,” Baffert said.

George Southerland More than 1 year ago
Never count out a Santa Anita's Derby winners when it comes to the Kentucky Derby, they will Win Place or Show. All you have to do is Box it with your pick.
Roger More than 1 year ago
Every trainer always says his horse is doing fantastic and they couldn't be happier with the way they're training before a big race. But when the race is run, only 1 or 2 horses show up, the others flop.
charles b More than 1 year ago
Never confuse Santa Anita's racing strip with Aqu or Fg. Sunland's surface was like concrete for a few days with ridiculous times by lowly claimers. Time and pace are one thing. Horse vs. horse gives you the real lowdown on who is best. And,a one race comparison won't do it as pace of a race changes from race to race. Years ago, there were fewer prep races and the contenders raced often enough against each other to get a line on who really were the best. The past few years I have played three horses to win in the derby and used them as keys in exactas. Bottom line is Animal Kingdom, Barbaro, Funny Cide with the exactas. It is so hard to get a real line on a horse off of three or four starts............some at only 1 1/16.
JDS0810 More than 1 year ago
Has any trainer won the Derby two years in a row??? O'Neill tries here...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, most recent was Lucien Lauren, 72 with Riva Ridge, 73 with Secretariat. Several other trainers have, you can find the full list atwikipedia.
Brad Solomon More than 1 year ago
no bob baffert in 97 and 98
Brad Solomon More than 1 year ago
No it was done bob Bob Baffet in 97 and 98 with Silver Charm and Real Quiet
Larry Rudolph More than 1 year ago
Goldencents has the best beyer number at the distance by a lot over any other derby contender. This has been a very important statistic in past derbys leading to several wins including Charismatic and others. He has just as much chance to get the distance as all other derby horses except Orb who I think is too slow. The ability to rate in the prep prior to the derby is important, example Super Saver in the Arkansas Derby. He will be a good price considering the overbetting on Verrazzano and Orb. Watch out
Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
I'm not picking Orb to win the Derby, but why does everyone on this board continue to talk about how slow this colt is? He's run out over $900k, won a G1, and has done everything asked of him. Either I'm missing something or slow horses commonly become millionaires before they turn 4.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Better figures do not stand for enough to think that will make difference.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Beyer, sorry, predictive texting.
Ron Stone More than 1 year ago
Remember a horse named War Emblem. He ran like a 114 in the Illinois Derby prior to the Derby. Everyone expected him to bounce. He didn't. Big numbers equate to Big Winners.
Albert More than 1 year ago
The significant jump this horse made in his last race would usually lead to a bounce in his next race. But some trainers have the ability (tools) to keep a horse from bouncing unless they have to plant them in a 24 hour secured detention barn. They scratch them if the track clamps down because they have to leave the (tools) at home.
Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
Ignorance at it's finest.......
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
"Bouncing" is an overused, elementary handicapping term. Serious contenders at this point are not bouncing anywhere, they are taking another step forward off of big efforts.
Roy Roy More than 1 year ago
STOP BEING GREEDY BAFFERT!!!!! YOUR HORSES DONT BELONG IN THE DERBY ...TAKE A BACK SEAT FOR A CHANGE!!!
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
This is not intended to defend Barffert but please tell me that if you were the leading employee in income at your job that you would "take a back seat" to one of your peers.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Oooh, didn't mean to call him Barffert but it is pretty funny.
anonymous More than 1 year ago
Doug O'Neill always talks like he's invented something new in racing, whether it's galloping instead of working a horse, using lots of therapy devices, or training a horse to run a certain way, in this case, fast in the last half of the race, against this horse's natural inclinations. That's so annoying. Also annoying is the interview speak, where you have to listen to expressions like beautiful stride, and other such nonsense, just before he withdraws a horse from triple crown contention. What ever happened to the fundamentals? All these gimmicks are covered by fundamental training and preparing a horse for a race. I can't stand to listen to his interviews, especially last year's. GC must lose so we don't have to hear the baloney.
Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
Yeah.....I'm sure Doug called the media and said please come interview me because I'm doing something new. You ever think the media is following HIM around and looking for a story to write? And just so you know, changing a horses running style, while they are already on the Derby trail isn't as common as you're making it out to be. All trainers do it at some point, but usually not weeks before the most prestigous race in the country.
anonymous More than 1 year ago
He may not have called the media but he sure didn't shrink from them. I don't think he's bad, I just don't like listening to him talk about his horses, they sound too perfect or incomparable.
Dominic Curran More than 1 year ago
Ever watch Bull Durham? Nothing but props to Doug Oneil for gettting back to the big race with a live one. You must have lost an bad bet recently to be such a drag. Baffert is one of the best on camera because he is trying to make everyone laugh but what O'neill is doing is attracting new owners who all want the hot trainer that can take them to the Derby. And guess what? Its working!. If he continues to do this well he will have top horses every year and stay on top and get into the HOF. So watch what Bull Durham teaches you about talking to the media and you will appreciate what O'neill is really doing.
commenting More than 1 year ago
I didn't see a relaxed horse, I saw a rider with a strangle hold, the horse with his head up in the air and basically a fight... the only reason he was able to win was because Krigger managed to strangle him down enough. Not sure if he'll be able to do that going a mile and a quarter. I don't doubt that the horse will go the distance, but only if he'll rate and I'm not sure Krigger is the right rider to get him to do that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We watched different races. This horse was completely relaxed, not fighting the bit at all. Krigger was just looking around deciding when to hit the gas. Finished strong. My only wish was Pitino wasn't an owner, he'll get a bit more money than he should because of the pub. Otherwise, huge value
commenting More than 1 year ago
So the horse running with his head up in the air isn't fighting the bit? We obviously were watching different races. Krigger was standing in the irons holding this horse back, watch him going around the first turn and into the back stretch...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If GCents relaxes and has the lead which is possible and all other are off the pace, if he gets a rhythm look out if nobody challenges him upfront
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Except for the fact that he is not even in the top 5 fastest front end types in the race.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Get off that Beyer number. Beyers are assigned with biggest going to first place and so on. Better horses have run more powerful races in defeat.