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Goldencents in great shape as O'Neill mulls next move
Goldencents, ridden to perfection by Kevin Krigger, came out of his 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3 Sham Stakes in top shape, but no decision has been made on the colt's next race on the Triple Crown trail.
"No plans right now," trainer Doug O'Neill said Sunday morning. "But he ate up great and his legs are ice cold. We'll meet up with the owners over lunch in 10 days and map out an agenda."
Goldencents picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for his Sham score and is the current point leader in the Run for the Roses with 24 overall.
From the outset, Saturday's Sham had the look and feel of a major derby prep as Goldencents had to deal with two Bob Baffert trainees early, as Baffert's Den's Legacy, who drew the rail and was ridden by Garrett Gomez, came outward and bumped Goldencents leaving the gate. Baffert's Manando, who broke from the outside with Martin Garcia, cut to the rail, causing Krigger to steady off heels while having to settle for second position into the clubhouse turn.
"We thought that with Baffert having two horses in the race, one closer (second-place finisher Den's Legacy) and one speed horse (third-place finisher Manando), we figured Garcia would send really hard," O'Neill said.
"Kevin said he could sense leaving the gate that Garcia was doing that, so he wasn't going to get caught up in a crazy pace duel.
"As the waters get deeper, you've got to be versatile and I think Goldencents and Kevin showed their versatility today."
O'Neill's recent three-year-old acquisition Mudflats, a disappointing seventh after attending the pace to the three-quarter marker in Saturday's Grade 2 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct, also came out of the race none the worse for wear. The gray son of Tapit was beaten some 15 lengths by even-money favorite Vyjack.
"He came out great," O'Neill said. "He'll fly to California Tuesday or Wednesday and hopefully we'll regroup and develop a plan."