Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 05/4/2013 7:43 PM | Comments: 0
A big crowd that turned out at Assiniboia Downs Saturday afternoon hoping to see a little Manitoba horse racing history get made went home disappointed as Manitoba-connected Goldencents couldn’t overcome a hot early pace and a bad trip and finished a disappointing 17th in the Kentucky Derby in Louisville.
A crowd of at least 500 filled the second floor of the Portage Avenue facility to watch a simulcast of the 139th running of the Derby from Churchill Downs and cheer on Goldencents, a three-year-old colt whose mother and grandmother were both Manitoba-breds who ran at Assiniboia Downs.
It was the first time in memory that a horse with such deep Manitoba-bred racing connections ran in the continent’s marquee horse race. Winnipeggers weren’t the only ones who liked his chances as the horse went off late Saturday afternoon as the third-favorite in the 19-horse field at odds of 7-1.
Racing on a sloppy track after a day of rain in Lousiville, Goldencents rider Kelvin Krigger — who was trying to make history of his own as what would have been the first black jockey to win the Derby since 1902 — got a clean break from the gate and immediately hustled his front-running horse out to the front of the pack.
Krigger tucked in nicely behind the leaders in fourth place and appeared to be content to stalk a blistering early pace. But as the horses headed for the far turn, a wall of horses formed in front of Goldencents and the horse visibly faltered in the blinding mud.
Goldencents never factored after that and faded badly down the stretch. Krigger stood in the saddle midway down the stretch and gently gallopped Goldencents over the finish line.
"It was disappointing. For such good positioning early, I think everyone was expecting more," said Downs CEO Darren Dunn, one of the many who watched on TV at the Downs.
It was not, suffice to say, the result local handicappers were hoping for. A deafening roar in the clubhouse faded to almost complete silence as pre-race favourite, Orb, was the first to reach the finish line in a tepid 2:02.4. Orb paid 12.80 to win, Golden Soul paid $38.60 to place and Revolutionary paid $5.40 to show.
With the barns at Assiniboia Downs full these days as the track prepares for tomorrow’s opening day of the 2013 live racing meet, many in the crowd who turned up to watch Goldencents run on Saturday were veteran Downs horsemen who would have raced against his mother — Golden Works — and grandmother — Body Works — at the Downs over the years.
There were also more casual Winnipeg racing fans sipping mint juleps and wearing the fancy Derby hats that are such a big part of the tradition of the first Saturday in May. The Downs had staged a promotion on Saturday in which one fan would have won a one-ounce gold coin if Goldencents had won.
One person conspicuous by his absence on Saturday was Phil Kives, the former owner and breeder of both Golden Works and Body Works. Kives sold Golden Works a couple of years ago for a paltry $7,000 after the horse had underperformed on the track at the Downs and her foals had also failed to live up to the legend of their grandmother, Body Works, who won 14 stakes and over $250,000 racing for Kives at the Downs.
The new ownership bred Golden Works in Kentucky to an equally little-known sire and the result was magic, as Goldencents had a fabulous three-year-old campaign that included an impressive — and very fast — win in the Santa Anita Derby last month.
Kives had promised last week that he would be at the Downs to watch Goldencents run, but was nowhere in evidence on Saturday.
Dunn said he’s not sure what to make of what he saw out of Goldencents on Saturday in Louisville.
"You could come up with a million excuses I guess — muddy track, too close to the pace, an inexperienced jockey in a Triple Crown race. But the fact is the result just wasn’t there.
"There were 17 other horses in that race who also had stories to tell. There can only be one winner."
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
MD sees charges dropped
Liquor store workers start voting today on possible strike before Christmas
Zoo has faults, but it's not all bad
Handful of First Nations yet to disclose finances
Lowry to have NHL hearing over boarding Sabres forward Kaleta
Siloam Mission opens podiatry room to help homeless with foot care
Polo Park debuts shopping app in time for Black Friday
Funds for Guay Park riverbank project going to balance city's books instead
Queen of crime writing PD James dies aged 94
CBC, NHL websites briefly affected by hack
Flap over leadership-vote plans
Sexual-assault myths persist
Ferguson fallout: Dozens arrested in Calif. unrest
Bowman among local celebrities to appear in RWB's Nutcracker
Manitoba economic outlook 'a good news story': Conference Board
'Fun party for two' ends in tragedy
General strike shuts down services across Greece
'Bannock Lady' Guiboche among human rights awards recipients
Farmers' incomes beefed up
Tory MP retracts video devices advice
Warmer weather -- and snow -- on the way
Ugly but still worth two points
Roll the (delicious) dice
Dog River faces crisis in 'Corner Gas' movie
Fire hits St. Norbert homes
Hut stuff: This year's winning entries stretch the imagination
Economic outlook anything but boring
Jazz for justice
Israel says it busted Hamas cell planning attacks
Cold Specks expands sound to create music she won't tire of
Syrian troops kill 30 rebels near Damascus
OPEC keeps oil output on hold despite low prices
Putin's tiger ravages goat farm in northeast China
Taliban attack rocks upscale Kabul district
Mining boom at stake, Greenland votes amid turmoil