05/16/2013 2:15PM

Preakness Stakes: O’Neill mulling East Coast presence

Barbara D. Livingston
Doug O'Neill is considering establishing a stable in the East some day but, he says, "My roots are still in California."

BALTIMORE - Southern California-based trainer Doug O’Neill’s approach to this year’s Preakness with Goldencents follows some of the same stabling protocol he used last year with winner I’ll Have Another. He has had a 12-horse division at Pimlico Race Course since the Monday following the Kentucky Derby, a move made to simulate home for Goldencents.

“I wanted to have him settled in, where it’s as close to home as can be,” O’Neill. said

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His local division is diverse. Aside from running Goldencents on Saturday, O’Neill has two horses in allowances on the undercard. Both will be ridden by Kevin Krigger, the regular rider of Goldencents, winner of the Santa Anita Derby. 

The local O’Neill division also includes Grade 2 winner Handsome Mike, who O’Neill said is being pointed to the Grade 1, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 27. Richard’s Kid, a multiple Grade 1 winner, was to have run at Pimlico on Friday in the Pimlico Special.

O’Neill said that in time he could move a division to the East Coast.

“Maybe somewhere down the road, to New York, Maryland, or Florida,” he said. “My roots are still in California.”

O’Neill said one of the appeals of the Northeast market is that with so many tracks in a close proximity of each other there are plentitude of race options.