In his final work in preparation for the Grade 1, $2 million Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs, Santa Anita Derby hero Goldencents breezed six furlongs in 1:16 1/5 Thursday morning over Santa Anita's fast dirt under regular exercise rider Jonny Garcia, as trainer Doug O'Neill, jockey Kevin Krigger and several owners watched from the grandstand.
Working from the half-mile pole around the Club House turn to the three-quarter pole, Goldencents was timed through splits of :27 1/5, :40 1/5, :51 1/5 and 1:03, according to Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson.
"We had him galloping out seven furlongs in 1:29 and two (fifths) and the mile in 1:43 and two," Nelson noted.
"We try to make his workouts similar to a gallop," said O'Neill, who won last year's Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies with I'll Have Another. "We try not to zap him. This is very similar to what he does every day, just a little quicker.
"I thought he went great. My biggest focus was to have him finish up stronger than he started off, and he did just that. I got him in forty (seconds) for the first three furlongs, and thirty six for the second three furlongs, so he definitely picked it up when Jonny asked him to, and I liked the gallop out. I'm very happy.
"This is all the 'tune up' he needed. He'll leave here Saturday at about 4 a.m. (PDT)."
For his part, Krigger was ecstatic about the move and how it was executed.
"Jonny gets along with this horse so well and he gets him to relax early," said Krigger, who will be riding in his first-ever Kentucky Derby. "Ever since (a disappointing fourth-place finish on March 9 in) the San Felipe, Doug has been trying to gear him down and get him to relax. Jonny did a great job this morning and he finished up real strong, which is what Doug wanted."
A three-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Into Mischief, Goldencents will attempt to follow in I'll Have Another's hoofsteps and become the 10th Santa Anita Derby winner to go on and win the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.