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Goldencents faces five in Sham

  • Goldencents is one of the top Kentucky Derby contenders on the West Coast entering 2013 (Delta Downs/Coady Photography)

Goldencents will be the one to catch when he opens his three-year-old campaign in the Grade 3, $100,000 Sham at Santa Anita on Saturday. The Doug O'Neill-trained colt has displayed high speed in all three career outings, including a 1 3/4-length tally in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot most recently, and will break from post 2 with regular rider Kevin Krigger.

The 1 1/16-mile Sham is part of the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, awarding 10-4-2-1 points to the respective top four finishers.

Goldencents, a bay son of Into Mischief, opened his racing career with an eye-catching maiden tally at Del Mar, smoking his rivals on the front end en route to a 7 1/4-length decision. He set the pace in the Grade 1 Champagne next out and surrendered only to presumptive two-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby, recording a respectable runner-up effort. The speedster exits a sharp wire-to-wire tally at the Sham distance in the November 17 Delta Downs Jackpot.

Bob Baffert will send out a pair in hopes of beating the favorite. Den's Legacy, winner of the Grade 3 Generous on turf two starts back, will attempt to transfer his form to dirt following a good third in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track. The Medaglia d'Oro colt did not fire in his lone previous dirt start, a well-beaten fifth in the Grade 1 FrontRunner, but does show an encouraging half-mile bullet drill (:46 2/5) over the Santa Anita track. Garrett Gomez retains the mount.

Manando will also represent the Hall of Fame conditioner. After finishing third in his first three starts in sprints, the bay colt crushed maiden special weight rivals in his two-turn debut, winning by 5 1/4 lengths on December 13 at Hollywood. Martin Garcia will guide the son of Bluegrass Cat.

The remaining contestants are Oak Tree Juvenile Turf winner Dry Summer, who will look to rebound from a pair of unplaced efforts for Jeff Mullins; Real Quiet third-placer Dirty Swagg, who adds blinkers following a seventh in the CashCall Futurity; and last-out maiden claiming winner Greeley Awesome.

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