01/06/2013 4:59PM

Santa Anita: Goldencents will get one or two preps for Kentucky Derby

Shigeki Kikkawa
Trainer Doug O'Neill wants to keep Sham winner Goldencents away from his other Kentucky Derby prospects.

Goldencents, the winner of the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, will have “one or two more” starts leading to the Kentucky Derby in May, trainer Doug O’Neill said on Sunday.

O’Neill said a plan will be made on Goldencents’s late winter and spring  season in coming weeks, with the intent of keeping the colt separate as much as possible from three of his other Triple Crown prospects – Avare, He’s Had Enough, and Mudflats.

Goldencents won the $100,000 Sham Stakes over a mile by 1 1/2 lengths as the 2-5 favorite. Ridden by Kevin Krigger, Goldencents stalked pacesetter Manando and took the lead in the final sixteenth.

“He looked fantastic,” O’Neill said on Sunday of Goldencents. “We’ll meet with the clients in 10 days and map out a couple of different plans. We’ll look at his energy and his health and see where we’ll go.”

Options at Santa Anita leading to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6 include the $200,000 Robert Lewis Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 2 and the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 9.

Goldencents races for Glenn Sorgenstein, Joshua Kaplan, David Kenney, and Rick Pitino, the basketball coach at the University of Louisville.
O’Neill has He’s Had Enough, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, scheduled for a start in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis.  Regarding the San Felipe, O’Neill said, ‘We hope to have one of ours in there.”

It is unlikely that will be Avare. The winner of the Eddie Logan Stakes over a mile on a wet-fast track on Dec. 29, Avare is being pointed for the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-olds over a mile at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 21.

Mudflats made his first start for O’Neill in Saturday’s $200,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, but only finished seventh after fighting for the lead in the first half-mile of the one-mile race.

“We’re going to bring him home and see how he’s doing,” O’Neill said. “That was a head scratcher.”