W. C. Racing, Dave Kenney and RAP Racing's Goldencents grabbed command of Saturday's Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot by a short margin soon after the start and maintained the lead throughout to score a 1 3/4-length victory on the wire. With jockey Kevin Krigger aboard, the Doug O'Neill trainee ran 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:44 4/5.
Heaven's Runway pressed Goldencents through the opening quarter in :22 3/5, but the bay son of Into Mischief shook loose and opened up a comfortable lead once hitting the backstretch. He maintained that advantage while setting splits of :46 1/5, 1:11 and 1:38, then held off the late run of 9-5 favorite Bern Identity to earn his first stakes score.
"Kevin knows this colt," O'Neill said. "He's worked him nearly every out. When I heard the announcer give the early fractions I thought, 'uh oh we are going a little too quick,' but we all have so much faith in this colt. Kevin kept him out of trouble and didn't fight him and it worked out perfect.
"I don't know the exact path (to the Kentucky Derby), but we will probably look somewhere at Santa Anita after the first of the year, maybe the (Grade 2) Bob Lewis Stakes (on February 2). This horse has been in New York and Louisiana in two of his three starts, so he travels great."
In winning Saturday's Jackpot, Goldencents earned 10 points in the new Road to the Kentucky Derby points system, which will determine starting positions for the 2013 Derby.
Grade 2 victor Bern Identity flew down the short stretch at Delta Downs after being bottled up, shuffled back and forced to go six wide. He was 1 1/4 lengths clear of Mylute in third, while Hightail returned from a nose score in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint to be fourth on this occasion. Completing the order under the wire were Central Banker, Itsmyluckyday, Heaven's Runway, Know More and Show Some Magic.
Bern Identity earned four points in the new Derby system for his second-place finish, followed by Mylute with two points and Hightail with one point.
Goldencents paid $7.20, $3.60 and $3.40 as the 5-2 second choice, and skyrocketed his career earnings to $722,000 with the winner's share of the $1 million Jackpot purse. The juvenile is now 2-1-0 from three starts following a 7 1/4-length debut win at Del Mar in early September and a second to next out Breeders' Cup Juvenile hero Shanghai Bobby in the Grade 1 Champagne on October 6 at Belmont Park.
Bred in Kentucky by Rosecrest Farm and Karyn Pirrello, Goldencents brought $5,500 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall yearling before selling for $62,000 when going through the ring as the penultimate horse in this year's OBS June sale. He is out of the winning Banker's Gold mare Golden Works, who is herself a daughter of multiple stakes queen Body Works.
Farther back in Goldencents' female family one will find Canadian champion and multiple Grade 1 hero Sunny's Halo, who captured the 1983 edition of the Kentucky Derby.