This is not Doug O’Neill’s first rodeo on the Triple Crown trail.

The 44-year-old trainer went global last year when he came within 36 hours of a Triple Crown attempt only to have an 11th-hour tendon injury to Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another, ultimately forcing his retirement.

Fast forward to March 7, 2013. O’Neill is once again poised to start down Derby Drive in earnest this year with Goldencents, who won the Sham Stakes on Jan. 5 and on Saturday takes on the West Coast’s “now” 3-year-old in the undefeated Flashback, an eye-catching gray son of Tapit who overpowered three would-be rivals in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 2, romping home by 6 ¼ lengths under Julien Leparoux.

O’Neill is both proud of and confident in Goldencents, whose only loss came to eventual 2012 champion male 2-year-old Shanghai Bobby in the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park last Oct. 6. Goldencents, a Kentucky-bred son of Into Mischief, worked six furlongs Saturday, going in a bullet 1:11.60, breezing, for six furlongs.

“He worked really well, by himself, and they gave him a ‘breezing’ which is special,” O’Neill pointed out. “He did everything on his own. It was very impressive.”

Unlike I’ll Have Another, who won the Lewis last year at 43-1, the resume of Goldencents precedes him. He was favored at 8-5 when he broke his maiden at Del Mar last Sept. 2, winning by 7 ¼ lengths under Kevin Krigger, who has ridden him in each of his four starts, three of them victories.

Following the Champagne, Goldencents won the rich Grade III Delta Jackpot before taking the one mile Sham by a length and a half.

O’Neill elaborated on the disparities of Goldencents and I’ll Have Another.

“I’ll Have Another never really needed to work fast,” O’Neill said. “He had kind of different gears, where Goldencents is like a Ferrari every day. He has that speed and stamina. I’ll Have Another was a bit more laid back early on and then would get tough or stronger as the work or gallop continued.”

Team O’Neill is delighted to have drawn outside of favored Flashback in the San Felipe, getting the No. 3 post while Flashback drew No. 2.

“I love it,” said Doug’s brother, Dennis. “Flashback kind of dictates what we do. If he breaks good, we sit right off him and if he breaks a step slow, we’re in front of him and kind of keeping him down inside. I love the post.

“We got Goldencents to the track today before it rained, which was great. He went really well. We’re sitting on tilt; we’re ready to go.”

The field for the Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe at 1 1/16 miles: Carving, 118, Rafael Bejarano, 15-1; Flashback, 123, Julien Leparoux, 8-5; Goldencents, 120, Kevin Krigger, 9-5; Kochees, Jose Valdivia Jr., 118, 15-1; Hear the Ghost, Corey Nakatani, 6-1, 118; Tiz A Minister, Garrett Gomez, 12-1, 118; Salutos Amigos, 118, Martin Garcia, 6-1; and Omega Star, 118, Joe Talamo, 8-1.


A better start will help Rumor in Sunday’s Grade III Las Flores Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track.

The 5-year-old Indian Charlie mare trained by Richard Mandella was off slowly from the No. 2 post in the restricted Wishing Well Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf Feb. 10. Mandella is enjoying a sensational meet, winning with 32 percent of his starters, 11 of 34.

“She didn’t get away good at all and I just never got in the race,” recalled Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith who has ridden Rumor in her last three starts, including a win in the LA Woman Stakes and a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

“Hopefully we’ll get into the race a little more and when she does, she’s a whole lot better than that.”

The field for the Las Flores: Belle of the Hall, Corey Nakatani; Rumor, Mike Smith; Shumoos, Garrett Gomez; Distracting, Rafael Bejarano; Teddy’s Promise, Victor Espinoza; Sugarinthemorning, Martin Garcia; Pink Lollipops, David Flores; and Quizzical, Gary Stevens.


Seolan is scheduled to make her first U.S. start Saturday in the $70,000 China Doll Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the grass.

“I got her at the end of November,” trainer Jim Cassidy said of the unbeaten Irish-bred filly, winner of her only two starts in Ireland late last year, each time under 126 pounds. “I liked her when I bought her, and her works have been just OK, but she’s picked her head up here the last few days, so she’s stepping up.”

The China Doll, which goes as the eighth of nine races, drew 13 entrants as follows: Magnificent Shirl, Tyler Baze; Seolan, David Flores; Akiss Forarose, Orlando Mojica; Awe Golly Molly, Martin Pedroza; Wittgenstein, Mario Gutierrez; Ciao Bella Luna, Corey Nakatani; Sarach, Rafael Bejarano; Birdlover, Edwin Maldonado; Flashy Ways, Joe Talamo; Secret Motive, Martin Garcia; Judy In Disguise, Gary Stevens; Sky High Gal, Julien Leparoux; and also-eligible Pussycat Lips, Garrett Gomez.


Online and mail-in registration for Santa Anita’s popular Derby Day 5K Run and Walk, on Santa Anita Derby Day, April 6, is now underway at or by mail addressed to: Santa Anita Derby Day 5K, c/o Time Management, P.O. Box 131314, Carlsbad, CA, 92013-1314.

Now in its 19th year, the Derby Day 5K, which gets underway at 8 a.m., attracted 5,200 runners and walkers last year.

“Last year’s event generated contributions to CARMA (California Retirement Management Account), Arcadia High School, Arroyo High School, Alhambra High School and the Arcadia Historical Museum,” said Santa Anita Director of Community Services and Special Projects, Pete Siberell.

“It’s a great morning for everyone and this year, for the first time, all of our participants, in all divisions, will start in one of our authentic starting gates. We’ll also be giving out custom finisher medals to the first 5,000 finishers for the first time.”

Three different races will be offered, with the Masters (division for those over the age of 40) division scheduled to start at 7:45 a.m., the Open (all others), at 8 a.m., and the Walk (for those who choose to walk only) at 8:20 a.m.

Registration for three kids’ races: 6 and under, 7 to 9, and 10 to 12 years of age, will be available the morning of the event in the track’s Infield from 9 to 9:30 a.m. All races will end at the finish line of Santa Anita’s training track, which is directly inside its main track.

Walk-up registration will be available from March 20 through April 4, at “Run With Us,” located at 235 N. Lake Ave. in Pasadena. “Run With Us” can be reached at (626) 568-3331.

Race day registration will be offered in Santa Anita’s southwest parking lot, beginning at 6:30 a.m. Race day registration will be available until 8 a.m.

All Derby Day 5K Run and Walk participants will receive free parking and admission for the entire day along with a Santa Anita Derby T-shirt. Additionally, all participants will be given a racing program and a pass good for future Club House admission.

Coffee, tea and a full breakfast menu will be available Saturday morning until 10 a.m. at Santa Anita’s Clockers’ Corner, located at the top of the stretch. Those wishing to visit Clockers’ Corner are urged to enter at Santa Anita’s Gate 5, located at the confluence of Colorado Place and Huntington Drive, on the track’s northeast perimeter.

For more information on how to register for the Santa Anita Derby 5K Run and Walk, visit

FINISH LINES: Congratulations to Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone who effective today adds another honor to her glowing resume with the announcement that she will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame . . . My Miss Aurelia, second to Royal Delta in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic, worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Monday in a bullet 1:10.60. Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, said the 4-year-old daughter of Smart Strike is ticketed for either the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on March 16 or the Grade III, $150,000 Azeri Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park the same day . . . Crystal Water Stakes winner John Scott, scratched from last Saturday’s Santa Anita Handicap, is a candidate for the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes at 1 ½ miles on turf March 16, trainer Carla Gaines said . . . Ron McAnally, who recorded his 700th Santa Anita win last Saturday when Suggestive Boy captured the Grade I Kilroe Mile by a nose under Joe Talamo, said the 5-year-old Argentine-bred likely will make his next start in the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at one mile on turf at Keeneland April 12 . . . With 28 racing days remaining, Rafael Bejarano held a 55-35 lead over runner-up Garrett Gomez in the race for Santa Anita riding honors. The 30-year-old Bejarano needs 45 wins to surpass his personal high of 99 at The Great Race Place set in 2007-08. The meet record of 138 was established in 1971-72 by Laffit Pincay Jr. . . . Trainer Barry Abrams registered his second win of the meet from 62 starters Sunday when Boozer scored a front-running victory at a $20.20 payoff in the sixth race with Gomez aboard . . . ShowVivor II contestants were reduced to 349 going into Thursday’s races when 143 were eliminated with their pick of Lime Rickey who finished fourth in Sunday’s fourth race . . . Reminder: Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 10. Set your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.