Racing News

O'Neill enthused about Goldencents, Mudflats

  • Doug O'Neill trains a couple of exciting prospects for this year's Kentucky Derby (Benoit Photo)

Doug O'Neill enjoyed a life-changing experience with I'll Have Another in 2012. The 44-year-old trainer conditioned the upstart three-year-old to unexpected victories in three Grade 1 races, the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, before an 11th-hour tendon injury forced him to abort a Triple Crown attempt in the Belmont Stakes.

But life goes on, and now O'Neill is focused on another run in the classic three-year-old races, starting in Saturday's Grade 3 Sham at one mile with Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot winner and Grade 1 Champagne runner-up Goldencents, owned in part by coaching great Rick Pitino, currently directing basketball operations at the University of Louisville.

The Champagne was Goldencents' only defeat, coming at the hands of unbeaten Shanghai Bobby, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the overwhelming favorite to win an Eclipse Award in that division.

"He worked in 1:10 1/5 last Thursday and if you didn't have a stop watch, you'd have thought he went (in) 1:14 or 1:15, just cruising," O'Neill said of Goldencents. "I did have a stop watch on him, and as I looked down and saw 1:10 and change, it was just, wow! It was really amazing.

"He came out of it in great shape, full of energy, and it's just one day at a time. He's got to stay injury-free but he's a real, real exciting prospect."

O'Neill has another promising sophomore in recent acquisition Mudflats, scheduled to run in the Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome at Aqueduct, also on Saturday.

"He looked really good," said O'Neill, just back from New York where he visited the gray son of Tapit first hand. "He reminds a lot of a younger version of Sky Jack (winner of the 2002 Hollywood Gold Cup). He's got that same physique.

"You can tell he's a real feisty guy, but at the same time, real chilled out in the stall. He's got the right demeanor and the right pedigree to be a good horse, so hopefully he can move forward off his big maiden win."

Mudflats broke his maiden at seven furlongs with a 3 1/4-length victory on Aqueduct's sloppy track December 8.

On the puzzling side, O'Neill plans to go back to square one with Know More, who finished sixth and last in a six-furlong allowance race Friday, beaten 21 1/2 lengths.

"That's a head-scratcher," O'Neill said of the winner of the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar last summer. "I put blinkers on thinking it would add something to him. Obviously, that didn't do it, but he came out of it in great shape.

"We're going to regroup. Like Trevor (Denman) says, 'They're not machines,' so he just needs to be recalibrated and we'll get him figured out."

Los Alamitos Futurity Added to 2014-15 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' Series

The $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (Grade I) has been added to the list of races that comprise the 2014-15 “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” The series of 35 select races – 19 “Prep Season” races and 16 “Championship Series” races – will determine which horses qualify to the 141st running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby.

Global View Nips Storming Inti at Wire to Win 23rd Running of Grade II American Turf

Glen Hill Farm's Global View caught Storming Inti in the closing strides

Midnight Lucky Romps in 28th Running of Grade I Humana Distaff

Midnight Lucky, making her first start in more than 11 months, took the lead out of the gate

Coffee Clique Catches Dame Marie Late to Win 29th Running of Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

Coffee Clique squeezed through an opening along the hedge

California Chrome Wins America’s Greatest Race

164,906 fans pack historic Churchill Downs

Updates Powered by

Visit brisnet.com for expert handicapping, picks and analysis Derby Week and all year long

Derby Stories

Lindsay & Els Chicago, IL

First time at the Oaks so that's why we have these crazy hats on, shaped like cheese hats and painted pink in honor of Bright Pink, which is a great charity.
Paula's picking California Chrome

Kentucky Derby 140 presented by Yum! - The Race

Kentucky Derby 140 - Road to the Derby

Kentucky Derby 140 Intro

Around the Downs - The Stables

The Race

54 Photos

GET TO KNOW THE KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER CALIFORNIA CHROME (PRE-RACE BIO)

California Chrome is attempting to become only the fourth California-bred, Kentucky Derby winner in history and the first since Decidedly in 1962.