By Jerry Bossert
Sent right to the front by jockey Rafael Bejarano, Goldencents never looked back, prevailing by 4 1/4 lengths over Fed Biz, with Silentio 1 1/2 length farther back in third. Goldencents' time of 1:20.99 for the seven furlongs over the Polytrack lowered the mark of 1:21.12 set by Fed Biz when he beat Goldencents by a length in last year's Pat O'Brien.
It was the sixth win from 16 starts for the 4-year-old colt by Into Mischief , who is owned by W. C. Racing. After finishing second in both of his starts this year—the June 7 Metropolitan Handicap and the July 27 Bing Crosby (both gr. I)—Goldencents found the winner's circle for the first time since capturing last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.
"He's run so well up front," said trainer Doug O'Neill after winning his first Pat O'Brien.
"Raffy (Bejarano) brought it up and said he was going to be aggressive with him. What a horse."
Goldencents carved fractions of :22.87 and :45.44 before opening up by four lengths after reaching the furlong marker in 11:08.87.
The Pat O'Brien is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge race for this year's Dirt Mile, the race Goldencents won last year, meaning all his entry fees will be paid for by the Breeders' Cup .
Goldencents won two of three starts as a 2-year-old in 2012, taking the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (gr. III). He emerged as a top contender for the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with wins in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) and the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), but stopped badly in the Kentucky Derby when 17th.
After finishing fifth in the 2013 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Goldencents was returned to the sprinting by O'Neill and has been a consistent performer since. He has finished second in five sprint tries, besides taking the Dirt Mile. He was put away after tiring to seventh in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) to end his 2013 campaign.
The bay colt earned $150,000 for the Pat O'Brien win, and has now banked $2,434,000.
Goldencents, who was bred by Rosecrest Farm and Karyn Pirrello, returned $5.40 to win $2.80 to place and $2.40 to show. Favored Fed Biz paid $3 to place and $2.40 to show, while Silentio paid $3 to show.
Goldencents is out of the dam Golden Works and was foaled on March 7, 2010 in Kentucky. He was purchased for $62,000 from the 2012 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s open sale of horses of racing age.