Goldencents led from start to finish to win the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot on Saturday.
Goldencents, ridden by Kevin Krigger and trained by Doug O’Neill, beat Bern Identity by three-quarters of a length, running 1 1/16 miles in 1 minute, 44.89 seconds. The winner paid $7.20 in the field of nine 2-year-olds.
Mylute was third.
Goldencents, the morning-line 5-2 favorite, earned 10 points in the ”Road to the Kentucky Derby” series. Touch Magic earned four points, Mylute received two, and Hightail one.
Goldencents, partially owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino’s RAP Racing, was making his third career start.
”This is the best 2-year-old I have ever sat on,” Krigger said. ”To come into this type of race with this type of horse, I have been waiting my entire career for a horse like this. This horse is very professional. He’s never rank and never does anything wrong.”
Goldencents finished second at the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in October after winning his debut at Del Mar in September.
”I don’t know the exact path, but we will probably look somewhere at Santa Anita after the first of the year,” O’Neill said. ”Maybe the Bob Lewis Stakes. This horse has been in New York and Louisiana in two of his three starts, so he travels great.”
Goldencents led out of the gate, followed by Heaven’s Runway, who finished seventh. Goldencents, though, did not falter, holding off late surges by Bern Identity and Mylute.
”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,” O’Neill said. ”Kevin kept him out of trouble and didn’t fight him and it worked out perfect.”
Bern and Mylute both made moves from the outside in the final turn but couldn’t catch Goldencents.
”When I got to the final turn, I quote my wife who always tells me to move,” Krigger said. ”I played the race like it came. The more I asked, the more he gave.”