04/17/2013 3:48PM

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.