(Into Mischief x Goldenworks, by Banker’s Gold)
- Trainer: Doug O’Neill (I’ll Have Another, Lava Man, Thor’s Echo)
- Jockey: Kevin Krigger (This will be his first Derby ride)
- Owned by: W.C. Racing, Kenney, Dave; and RAP Racing
- Record: 6:4-1-0
- Earnings: $1,250,000
- Best speed figures: 105 Beyer, 111 Equibase
Background: Just when it looked like Team O’Neill was going to be out of the Derby picture the year after they led I’ll Have Another into that heralded winner’s circle at Churchill, the bay colt named Goldencents made a big run to score their second consecutive Santa Anita Derby (I) over favored Flashback. Regarded as a good two-year-old, Goldencents dismissed distance doubters by nailing the 9-furlong race, again offering a Cinderella story for fans this year as the curly-maned bay carries black jockey Kevin Krigger to the gate.
Prep Schedule: After knocking heads with Shanghai Bobby as a two-year-old, the talented juvenile closed out his baby year with a front-running score in the Delta Downs Jackpot (III), holding off Bern Identity to win by a clear 1 3/4 lengths. He proved best in his three-year-old debut, winning the Derby points prep the Sham Stakes (III) going a mile, tracking Manado in a tight trip where he prevailed by a game 1 1/4 lengths. He was challenged for the lead early in the San Felipe (II) next out, again at 1 1/16 miles, being effectively run off his feet by Flashback and just hung on to be 4th. Seeking revenge, Goldencents was forwardly-placed on autopilot in the Santa Anita Derby (I) at 9 furlongs, where he progressed nicely into a 1 1/4-length win over Flashback.
Pedigree: New sire Into Mischief is having a heyday with his first crop to race with Goldencents leading the fray with a G1 win and more than a million bucks in earnings. Into Mischief, a son of Florida Derby winner Harlan’s Holiday, had a short-lived career running mostly sprint type races. His half sister is a favorite for the Oaks this year: the indomitably fast Beholder who also capped off a strong Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly (I) win last year. Dam Goldenworks has some distance pedigree although her sire Banker’s Gold didn’t do much beyond 7 furlongs. Goldencents grades fair on the inbreeding scale, though has several Native Dancer references beyond the fifth generation through Raise a Native and Icecapade.
Estimated TrueNicks Rating: A++ Variant 7.37
Running Style: Near-the-pace
Pros: Sporting some excellent speed figures, Goldencents is statistically a top contender in this regard should he keep right on chugging away to get 10 furlongs.
Cons: Showing little dimension other than a need-to-be-up-front horse that has displayed trouble relaxing, Goldencents got sucked into a frenzied duel in the San Felipe (II) and has yet to encounter a truly tough field.
Final Word: Backers of Goldencents have to be those who are either still high off of I’ll Have Another’s Derby win last year or who are driven by certain angles, such as his forward placement and especially his improving Beyers which show he’s right on schedule. I will also forever vouch O’Neill’s stiff conditioning methods for his horses, which he seems to be doing again this year having Goldencents plug away 6 panels at a time at Santa Anita. I don’t personally like him for several reasons: he’s too testy when encountering trouble, he looked all-out getting the Santa Anita (I’ll Have Another ran ears forward in his tough victory), his Santa Anita win was given to him (field was a bit off, Flashback was found to be injured post-race), and I’m going to wager he stops at 9 furlongs looking at his pedigree.