ARCADIA, Calif. — Back in the spring when headliners of the 3-year-old division were being compiled, it was Goldencents's tactical speed that put in him the conversation to be among the last one's standing once his classmates shook themselves out.
With circumstances lining up in favor of his front-running ways, the son of Into Mischief left his five-race losing skid and eight other rivals in his wake when he captured the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile by 23/4-lengths in gate to wire fashion on the opening day of the world championships at Santa Anita Park.
Co-owned by a group that includes Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, Goldencents earned his first win since taking the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in April, a win that stamped him as a top Kentucky Derby contender.
Having been shortened up to sprints after finishing off the board in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Goldencents found the 1-mile distance right in his wheelhouse — reeling off a half in :44.75 before hitting the wire in 1:35.12.
"It (the track) is definitely speed favoring," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "We felt like we had the best horse in Goldencents. I was worried when I saw the fractions but his class and the way the track was playing really carried him home."
In what was slated to be his final career start, Grade I winner and race favorite Verrazano finished fourth after a troubled trip that saw him bumped around the first turn.
Centralinteligence was eased through the lane and later diagnosed with a condylar fracture of his right front cannon bone.
Chriselliam reigns in Juvenile Fillies Turf
Fresh off Group I success in England, the strong kick of Chriselliam proved much the best in her first North American start as she rolled to a 21/2-length victory in the 1-mile Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Sent off at 6-to-1 odds, the daughter of Iffraaj won the Group I Shadwell Fillies Mile at Newmarket on Sept. 27 in what was her fifth career start.
Having tracked along in fourth through a half mile in :46.31, Chriselliam moved out four-wide in the lane and whipped past My Conquestadory to her inside en route to giving her conditioner Charlie Hills, who is in his first full season as a trainer, his first Breeders' Cup triumph.
Outstrip rallies to take Juvenile Turf
Outstrip gave newly-minted Godolphin Racing trainer Charlie Appleby his first Breeders' Cup win with his first starter, running down Giovanni Boldini and pacesetter Bobby's Kitten to take the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
Appleby was granted a license to train for Godolphin this July, taking over as one of the operation's main trainers after Mahmood Al Zarooni was handed an eight-year ban for administering anabolic steroids to horses in his care.
With 6-to-5 race favorite Bobby's Kitten scorching through fractions of :22.27 and :45.70 in the one mile test, the conditions were perfect for Outstrip to make a run after rating tenth in the 13-horse field down the backside.
Bobby's Kitten grudgingly gave way to Giovanni Boldini in the final sixteenth but Outstrip surged under left-handed urging from jockey Mike Smith to get up by half a length in a final time of 1:33.20 over a firm turf.
Trainer Chad Brown and owner Ken Ramsey both expressed displeasure about jockey Javier Castellano sending Bobby's Kitten to the front end.
"He's only 2-year-olds going out in 1:09 and change, that's ridiculous," Brown said.
London Bridge prevails in Marathon
Making his U.S. debut and first try over a dirt surface, New York-bred London Bridge put in a big run on the outside under jockey Mike Smith to score a one-length victory in the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon.
The 3-year-old son of Arch began his career in Great Britain, breaking his maiden fourth time out against stakes company at Brighton this June.
After rating seventh in the nine-horse field, London Bridge still had a handful of horses in front of him as they set down for the stretch but quickened handily in the lane.
Final time for the 13/4-mile distance was 2:58.32. Race favorite Ever Rider was eased approaching the far turn but was reported to just be exhausted but otherwise fine, according to Dr. Wayne McIlwraith of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.