Chalk up a historic "golden" moment for Manitoba on the world stage of horse racing.
Goldencents, the 3-year-old colt born to Assiniboia Downs mare Golden Works, crushed 10 rivals in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile-G1 last Friday in the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita. In the process, he became a leading candidate for the vaunted Eclipse Award as Champion 3-Year-Old in the United States.
Never has a horse with Manitoba breeding reached such dizzying heights.
"To achieve recognition of that level on that stage is unbelievable for Manitoba horse racing and breeding," said Assiniboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn. "Every Manitoban should feel proud of what this colt has accomplished."
Goldencents was facing 10 seasoned competitors in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, including older more-experienced horses, but he charged to the lead and never looked back, winning by almost three lengths and awarding his backers with a $9.60 payoff for every $2 bet. It was his fifth lifetime victory from 12 starts.
Leading Santa Anita rider Raphael Bejarano sent Goldencents to the lead as soon as the gate opened, shook off pace rival Broadway Empire late on the final turn after fractions of 22.12 and 44.75, opened a two-length lead after six furlongs in a sizzling 1:08.64 and increased that margin into the stretch, holding on comfortably to win by 2 3/4-lengths over Golden Ticket. The final time for the mile was 1:35.12.
Brujo de Olleros, who is partly owned by Manitoba horseman and Manitoba Jockey Club Director Barry Arnason, rallied to finish third, 3 1/2-lengths back of Golden Ticket.
Goldencents' dam, Golden Works, was bred in Manitoba by "as seen on TV" product innovator Phil Kives. Kives raced the mare at Assiniboia Downs in the mid 1990s before selling her in Kentucky for $7,000. Many will remember the dam of Golden Works, local champion Body Works, and her granddam, Kinto, a multiple stakes-placed runner at Assiniboia Downs.
Goldencents was then bred to 2007 Cashcall Futurity-G1 winner Into Mischief in Kentucky, by Rosecrest Farm and Karyn Pirrello, and the rest history. One of Goldencents' owners is Rick Pitino, the prominent coach of the University of Louisville men's basketball team.
Goldencents' sparkling career had one bump in the road, when he didn't take to the sloppy track at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby earlier this year and faded to 17th, but he has since rebounded to become the toast of California racing. Now a winner of two of the most prestigious races in the world including the Santa Anita Derby-G1 and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile-G1, Goldencents has compiled a lifetime record of 5-4-0 from 12 starts for earnings of $1,990,000.
"The exciting thing is, there is a still lot of upside for this gorgeous colt," said Dunn. "The ease in which he won the world championship portends a future that is unlimited. We could be hearing about this horse for years to come."