05/14/2013 1:30PM

Preakness: O'Neill alters training for Goldencents to what worked earlier

Barbara D. Livingston
Goldencents gallops a mile Tuesday at Pimlico with regular rider Kevin Krigger aboard.

BALTIMORE – Orb’s triumph in the Kentucky Derby was viewed by some as a victory for the old-school training methods of Shug McGaughey.

When it comes to Goldencents, trainer Doug O’Neill – who won last year’s Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another – is employing some old-school methods of his own. As in two months old.

After Goldencents disappointed in the San Felipe in March, O’Neill changed his training regimen with the colt to put in slower, longer-distance gallops in order to get him to relax. When Goldencents won the Santa Anita Derby, O’Neill naturally decided to stick with that training style leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

Now, after Goldencents flopped in the Derby – he finished 17th over a sloppy Churchill track – O’Neill has reverted to his previous training methods of shorter, quicker gallops.

On Tuesday at Pimlico, Goldencents had his most rigorous training session since the Derby, galloping a strong mile under jockey Kevin Krigger. Daily Racing Form timed the gallop in 1:51.25 with a final half-mile of 53.73 seconds.

“Slowing the gallops down, slowing the works down wasn’t in my comfort zone,” O’Neill said Tuesday outside Pimlico’s Barn D. “I feel more comfortable letting them stretch and breathe like they do in a race setting. To me, if you can make the race setting not much more different than their daily training then it is easier for them.”

Nothing was easy for Goldencents in the Derby. Goldencents got caught up in a wicked early pace battle with Palace Malice for the opening quarter, and then found himself chasing that rival through a half-mile in 45.33 and six furlongs in 1:09.80. Goldencents backed up around the far turn and was basically eased by Krigger from the three-sixteenths pole to the wire.

[2013 PREAKNESS FIELD: Probable starters and early odds]

“Kevin took care of him and we’re seeing the fruits of it now,” O’Neill said. “His attitude is great, his appetite is great, and he seems happy.”

Krigger, who decided to come to Baltimore with Goldencents and about a dozen other O’Neill-trained horses, was enthusiastic with the way Goldencents trained on Tuesday.

“Awesome morning, couldn’t ask for better training out of this horse,” said Krigger, who waited patiently at the gap atop Goldencents while a loose horse was being corralled by an outrider. “I was enjoying myself. The horse was having a great time too. He’s galloping as good as a horse can gallop right now.”

Krigger is on board with the return to the quicker, shorter gallops that Goldencents has turned in since arriving at Pimlico.

“The majority of the time we let him dictate what he wants to do,” Krigger said. “He’s a graceful, free-moving horse. He does everything himself. We’re not making him do it. I’m just up for the ride.”

As was the case before the Derby, all signs indicate that Goldencents will be the pacesetter in the Preakness. Govenor Charlie, who pressed a hot pace in the Sunland Derby and hasn’t been out since that March 24 race, and Titletown Five, who pressed the pace in the Louisiana Derby before retreating to ninth, are the other early speed horses in the nine-horse field.

[2013 PREAKNESS STAKES: Latest news, video, and more]

“If someone does a Palace Malice, we should be able to run our race regardless of how it unfolds,” O’Neill said.

In 1996, Louis Quatorze finished 16th in the Kentucky Derby and came back two weeks later to win the Preakness on the front end with a time of 1:53.43 that equals the second-fastest clocking of the Preakness behind only Secretariat’s 1:53.

While O’Neill has respect for Orb, he is expressing confidence going into the Preakness.

“With a smaller field, and good weather, we can turn the tables on Orb,” he said.

The forecast for Saturday has changed somewhat and now calls for a high of 76 degrees and partly cloudy skies with only a 20-percent chance of rain, down from Monday’s forecast of 30 percent.

◗ On Tuesday morning, Orb walked the shed row at Pimlico for 40 minutes and grazed. He was scheduled to make his first visit to the track on Wednesday morning.

“Everything’s fine here,” trainer Shug McGaughey said.

◗ Trainer Bob Baffert on Tuesday indicated he plans to send Govenor Charlie to Pimlico on Wednesday, but left himself a little wiggle room to change his mind. On Tuesday, Govenor Charlie, worked five furlongs in 1:10.80 at Churchill.

“The horse worked like he’s supposed to work. He looked great today. Got him checked out. He’s 100 percent. Now I have to make the call,” Baffert said from Southern California.

Govenor Charlie, along with Mylute and Departing, were scheduled to leave Churchill Downs for nearby Louisville Airport at 10:45 a.m.

“Don’t make a decision till you have to,” Baffert said. “I got my flights. I got my hotel. We are on red alert.”

◗ Itsmyluckyday, 15th in the Kentucky Derby, jogged at Monmouth Park on Tuesday morning and vanned to Pimlico.

◗ The trio of D. Wayne Lukas runners – Oxbow, Will Take Charge and Titletown Five – were due to arrive by van from Churchill early Tuesday evening.

Phil West More than 1 year ago
Anyone who thinks Orb is tired or worn out from the derby must not have watched him work at Belmont. 24 change 22 change out 59 change not even being asked. When they turn for home Orb will be just outside and he will simply inhale everyone in front. Only horse moving with Orb got stopped cold and that was Will Take Charge. Its my lucky day could pull a Bet Twice move as he did not like the slop and Oxbow made a bold move to take the lead before tiring at the 16th pole. Might win if he does that again. 13/16 puts him there so I am saying Orb is a throw back to the old school. The 3 horses mentioned could beat him but his Belmont work suggest Chug has a reason to have that quiet confident look on his face. The wait for a triple crown winner ends in June 2013 when Orb destroys all comers on his home track in the Belmont. Just look at his work at Belmont Tuesday. Chalk one up for the old school and generational breeding the best to the best and hoping for the best. They finally got it.
Richard Gorz More than 1 year ago
Orb nice story, over hyped will run late. Bob Baffert runs charle, charle wins orb second.
Steve Jaramillo More than 1 year ago
Goldencents my get 3rd or 4th but exacta is orb with departing. Departing ran 3rd in la derby and that produced 2,3,& 4 place finishers in kent. derby
Donald Cody More than 1 year ago
i am sticking with goldenscents along with departed and general Charlie that's my choice you will see orb will be in fourth
trackbuff More than 1 year ago
Dream on!
Donald Cody More than 1 year ago
I am betting on goldenscents, departing and governor Charlie, what can I say I know goldenscents will take it this time orb is worn out
Dan Fidel More than 1 year ago
Is Krigger riding any races while in Baltimore galloping O'Neils horses?
Art Volpe More than 1 year ago
B Smith More than 1 year ago
What's he gonna do? Revert back to milkshaking?
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
Julia Avara More than 1 year ago
Do you even know how to read? Why don't you learn the truth?
Earl Rhodes More than 1 year ago
Haters, must be from the east coast , Kentucky allowed his horses to run , Maryland allowed his horses to run, didn't find evidence of milkshakes, I'll Have Another won fair and square , they are going to have a very hard time running Goldencents down ! Don't hate the player , hate the game
Mike Knox More than 1 year ago
“With a smaller field, and good weather, we can turn the tables on Orb,” he said. AMEN, couldn't have said it better my self!
andy More than 1 year ago
How can you like Goldencents??? First, his trainer said he did things differently in the SA Derby and had good results. He followed that up, again, for the Derby and had "bad" results. Now, he says he is going back to his old ways again... Could it be that the horse is just who he is and sometimes he runs good/sometimes he runs bad and he needs the right field/pace, etc.??? I wouldn't upgrade/downgrade him on what his trainer is doing you either like Goldencents or you don't... On a sidenote, I was somewhat "intrigued" of the possibilities of Gov. Charlie. Lightly raced horse with the potential for even more improvement. But, I don't like the training "interuption" Baffert speaks of. Baffert isn't even 100% committed as of yesterday that this horse would run for sure. Not the time of horse to bet on in a big race... Too bad.
Lise McLain More than 1 year ago
Hi! Good luck to Goldenscents in the Preakness. I will be watching, and will be purchasing my tickets on Saturday. Thank you! Lise from Maine
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Bet a lot
michael stapler More than 1 year ago
You too..... I've read your vast knowledge.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
I am way too right on this horse. But good luck to you too.Put him on top and when Orb runs over him, maybe then you will be a fan. Or maybe you will have another excuse for Goldencents.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
I will not leave the message boards on Saturday night until I blast every single one of you backers of that slow horse.