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Krigger happy with Goldencents' stay at Pimlico

Jockey Kevin Krigger and Goldencents have spent quality time this week getting to know the Pimlico track (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Preakness contender Goldencents turned in an enthusiastic gallop Friday morning at Pimlico under jockey Kevin Krigger. It was the first piece of serious exercise for the colt since he finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby last Saturday. He returned to the track Thursday and jogged.

Krigger is spending the two weeks between the Derby and the Preakness with trainer Doug O'Neill's outfit at Pimlico. He is the exercise rider for all 14 of the O'Neill horses stabled at the Baltimore track and has picked up a pair of mounts on the Saturday racing program at Pimlico, but his priority is Goldencents, the Santa Anita Derby winner.

Goldencents jogged for a half-mile and appeared to be very alert and interested when Krigger asked him to pick up the pace and gallop about six furlongs. 

"This is the first time I've ever been able to gallop him and I got what I was looking for out of him -- a pretty good relaxed gallop," Krigger said. "He stayed relaxed and that's basically what I'm focusing on, letting him achieve the workouts that he needs, not be rank doing it and be comfortable and relaxed. I got that out of him this morning."

Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson liked what he saw from the Into Mischief colt during the 20 minutes he was on the track Friday.

"He's one horse that gets a lot out of his training," Sisterson said. "We wanted to see how he would come out of the Kentucky Derby and he's bounced out of it with high energy. He moved over the track well and Kevin was really happy with him this morning."

Goldencents trained well at Churchill Downs but turned in a disappointing performance in the Derby, which was run over a sloppy, sealed surface. He was near the pace early, but on the run up the backstretch Krigger realized that Goldencents would not be a contender in the final quarter-mile and didn't ride him hard to the wire.

"It's not the first race that he's not run to expectations, but it was the Derby and a race that we all wanted to win," Krigger said. "At the same time it was a race that we enjoyed participating in. We didn't get the turnout that we were looking for but he came out of the Derby happy and he came out of the Derby sound and his energy level is up. It's like he didn't even run last week.

"We're just keeping our focus. I don't think any of us has lost any confidence. We looked back at the race and if he had gotten beaten in the stretch we would probably feel more disappointed than we do. It's as simple as he didn't run his race at all. We're just drawing a line through that race and staying focused and keeping our confidence. As you can see, he's doing the same thing. We're all on the same page."

Goldencents is scheduled to gallop again on Saturday and Sunday. O'Neill is flying in from California on Sunday to watch the colt breeze on Monday morning.

Krigger said that O'Neill will see a horse that has adapted well to the track.

"He looks great, is traveling great," Krigger said. "From my first day galloping him, I'm pretty confident that we're going to be pretty competitive in the Preakness."

Krigger is looking to become the third black rider to win the Preakness and the first since 1898 when Willie Simms won aboard Sly Fox. George "Spider" Anderson captured the 1889 Preakness with Buddhist. Six black riders have previously ridden in the Preakness. The last was Wayne Barrett, who finished eighth in 1985 with Sparrowvon.

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